The Voice of Resurrection dougfloyd - 4/2004 Mary rises while it still dark. This is Mary.

The Mary Jesus meets who was tormented by 7 demons. This is the same Mary who was tortured with the despair and anguish of continual spiritual and mental suffering. This is the Mary who met the Jesus, Healer: his love freed her from a life of deadly misery. His love gave her joy unspeakable. This is the Mary who stood beside the Mother of Jesus and John the disciple as Jesus gasped his final breath. Even as her hope, her joy, her Healer hunger and bled and died, she refused to move. Steadfast to the very end. This is Mary who stands by as Jesus limp body is removed from the cross and who helps wrap his body in linens, preparing it for the tomb. The Sabbath rest brings no comfort. The Sabbath rest weighs heavy upon her soul. How can she worship when the Lord of life lays rotting in a tomb. The dark storm that once so gripped her soul seems to threaten once again. The borders of her world are closing in. And chaos awaits her. In the darkness of grief, in the darkness of pain, in the darkness of loneliness, she stumbles toward the tomb. Even the earth seems to grieve as it quakes beneath her feet. She feels the quaking earth inside her heart and trembles. Something’s wrong. Mary runs with blinding fear to the tomb and her greatest fears are realized: the tomb is empty. She cannot even grasp the possibility of resurrection and all she can conclude is that his body has been stolen. “Someone has stolen the body of my Lord!” Mary runs with furious speed into the blinding darkness of the burning sun. She runs to Peter. Peter the rock who crumbled under pressure. She runs to Peter who betrayed, forsook, abandoned his Lord in the hour when he was most needed. She runs to Peter, who sits in the darkness of his own despair. The kingdom of God is lost. The redeemer is dead. And Peter, could have rescued him. For didn’t Jesus himself give Peter the keys of the kingdom? Didn’t Jesus expect Peter to protect him? To stand up for him. Didn’t Jesus say that if you deny me before men I will deny you before the Father? But Peter had failed him. He had denied Jesus. And now Jesus lies rotting in a tomb. And the kingdom is lost. All is lost. She runs to Peter in his darkest night. She runs to John: John the beloved. She runs love Jesus had for him that this love became as the beloved for he had realized a love in love that gave meaning and hope; a love that God. to John who was so changed by the his whole identity. John knew himself Jesus that had no earthly origins: a opened his eyes to the goodness of

Now John faced world void of this love. When Jesus died, it was as though a part of him had died as well. John watched and waited beside Mary to the very end. He watched the whole hope and reason for his life give up on life and fade into darkness. As he helped carry Jesus’ lifeless body into the tomb, John felt as though his own life had passed into the deadly silence of that tomb.

She ran to Peter and John. “They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him.” Peter and John leap into the darkness of the day and run with painful haste to the tomb. Staring vacantly in an empty tomb, John falls to the ground in despair. Peter bursts in the void and finds the folded grave cloths cast aside and the Savior gone. The crushing reality of Jesus’ absence knocks the breath out of Peter. John comes alongside Peter and according to the text, “he believed.” Did he actually believe that Jesus had risen from the grave? Augustine suggests otherwise. He believed what Mary had said, “they’ve taken away the body of the Lord.” As the Scripture says, “For as yet they did not know the Scripture, that He must rise again from the dead. Then the disciples went away again to their own homes.” Peter and John stumble from the scene in a daze of disbelief. Still weeping, Mary looks back into the darkness of the grave and sees the blinding light of two angels. “Woman, why are you weeping?” “They’ve taken away my Lord and I do not know where they have laid him.” In her search for the Savior she turns away and steps into the shadow of the Son. Blind to his presence, she cries, “Sir if you have carried him away tell me where you have laid him and I will take him away.” “Mary!” The voice of Jesus calling her name penetrates the blinding darkness and pierces her soul with light. In terror and joy, she falls to her knees crying “Rabboni.” Mary has found her Lord, her love, the very reason for living, embracing his feet she clings to him and vows never to lose him again. “Do no cling to me Mary.” Mary cannot hold onto the Jesus she knew before resurrection. She cannot cling to her image of the Savior. She will not hold onto him, He will hold onto her. In the love of the Father and by the grace of the Holy Spirit, he will hold her in the mystery of God’s loving communion. In the very depths of her being she will come to know the immeasurable love of Jesus. Then Jesus tells Mary, “Go and tell the disciples!” Weary from the weight of guilt, Peter stumbles home. He has no appetite for food or for living. He failed the only friend who ever trusted him, and his heart sinks in the tomb of self regret. Suddenly that voice. “Peter!” Like Lazarus, Peter comes forth from his tomb of despair and enters into the endless light of the Savior’s love. Then like Mary Jesus will tell Peter, “Go and tell the disciples!” That evening, the disciples gather just like they have everyday for the last three years. Now instead of gathering around the presence of Jesus, they gather around his absence. The void in the room reveals the void in their souls. The quiet gloom of their empty lives is interrupted by the flurry of words from Mary. “He’s alive. He’s alive. Jesus is alive.”

A moment later, Peter burst into this confusion proclaiming, “He’s alive. He’s alive. Jesus spoke to me!” Then two more followers return from Emmaus—“He’s alive. He’s alive! And our hearts burned within us.” Fear and confusion fills the air. “What are they talking about?” “What could they mean?” “Is this a plot by the Jews?” In the midst of this chattering cacophony, the resurrected Jesus appears: “Peace be with you.” Panic gives way to joy and celebration at the Presence of the Son. Now the kingdom can be realized! Now the kingdom can come! But this will not look anything like what they’ve expected. For the world they knew is gone. Old things have passed away, behold all things are become new. Like Mary, they cannot cling to their image of the old Jesus. Once again, they cannot hold him for he holds them in the light and love of his kingdom. He breathes upon them with the breath of the Holy Spirit and sends them out to proclaim the good news. After the commotion, after the excitement, after the Savior leaves from their presence, Thomas arrives. This is Thomas who was slow to believe, yet unmoving in his devotion. He was quick to notice deception and duplicitous behavior among the leaders of Israel. He doubted the veracity of the rabbis. He longed for one true leader. He longed to find the truth. Truth found Thomas. Jesus did not simply speak truth, Jesus was truth. Jesus embodied truth in every limb, every actions, every breath. Jesus took hold of Thomas in his thoughts, in his imaginations, in his very life. Thomas was willing to follow Jesus even if that meant death. And it did mean death. Jesus’ death. This stuns Thomas. If truth dies, what remains? Everything is up for question. Is God even there? Does life have any meaning? Are we all bound up in some absurd game? When the Son goes down, darkness overcomes the light in the heart of Thomas. He is smothering is unbelief. Grieving and lost he comes to the disciples. Their laughing? How dare they laugh when Jesus has just died? How dare these cease from mourning? No, no they assure Thomas—this is not idle chatter, spurious celebration. This is truth. The Son has come back to life, the world is reborn! Confused and unsure, Thomas adamantly states, “I cannot believe. I simply cannot. I cannot believe Jesus has come back to life. Unless I see in His hands the print of the nails, and put my finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I cannot, I will not believe." But Jesus doesn’t come. The evening passes into night and for Thomas it seems as though the day will never return. A new fervor, a new zeal has overcome his compatriots, his companions. He longs to have their passion, he longs to know their excitement. But how can he? How can he trust their subjective experience? Just because that say that they have seen Jesus alive, what does that mean to him? What if they are all deluded. Day after day of endless night, Thomas struggles, hopes and even prays to believe. But nothing. Another Sabbath passes. Life is going on for everyone but Thomas. He is lost and despairs of ever finding the truth again. On the eighth, a new beginning. The one he cannot summon, summons him. Jesus appears and speaks “Peace.”

Then He said to Thomas, "Reach your finger here, and look at My hands; and reach your hand here, and put it into My side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing." And Thomas answered and said to Him, "My Lord and my God!" Jesus said to him, "Thomas, because you have seen Me, you have believed. Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed." Mary, Peter, John, the disciples, Thomas. Love’s voice calls to out their name even as they lay rotting in a grave of guilt, unbelief and despair. That voice. That voice. There is resurrection in that voice. And even as you read these words, he is calling out your name.