Saturday, September 20, 2014

Three Days

It was the darkest moment in their lives.  They had gambled their lives, their homes, their livelihoods, their families, on God's prophet and lost. Every hope, every dream, every vision of the future was as dead as that body they just laid in the tomb. What would become of them? Where were they to go? What were they to do? They had given up everything to follow after him, and what was left for them now?

There was but one voice among them who was speaking words of comfort. Peaceful, serene, she stood alone in her confidence that the appearance of the situation was not its reality. She continued to soothe them, as she had once soothed her frightened infant, promising them all that He would come for them soon. She told them to wait a while and they would see. The King of Kings would return triumphant. Their faith would be validated, their sacrifices would not be wasted. A mother knows when her child's light has faded and her heart told her His was still burning brightly, though for the moment it was unseen.

Three days they waited, fighting waves of despair and disappointment that threatened to overwhelm them. Three days of darkness so deep the sun could not penetrate it. Three days of doubting.  Only the sound of the mother's voice reminding them of the miracles He'd performed, telling them of the miracles surrounding His birth, reminding them of who He was, assuring them that His promises could be trusted and would be proven true. Hers the only voice of hope.

They wait together for Sunday morning, for the final embalming and a chance to say their proper goodbyes. His mother refuses to go, simply praying in silence as she tells them that He will come in good time. They shake their heads. They think her grief has made her lose her mind. 

Mary Magdalene is the first to reach the tomb. She wants time alone with this man she loved so dearly. He raised her up when she was at her lowest point, loved her when she was the least lovable, saw value in her when others treated her like garbage. Her gratitude for what he has done for her makes the grief so much more poignant. 

She is surprised to see the stone that blocked the tomb rolled away, and even more surprised to find it empty when she arrives. She looks everywhere for someone to ask where the body has been taken and finds only one man, a gardener from the looks of him.  She demands to know where he has taken the body, where she can go and give it a final farewell.  The man calls her name, and suddenly she knows who this is! Her Jesus, but He can't be! She wants to touch him, to reassure herself it's really him, but he warns her not to.

Filled with joy she runs back to the others.  Her face is flushed and her eyes sparkling. She's speaking so fast they can hardly make out what she's saying. "He's here! He's here! The master is here!" she finally gets out.  Peter and John look at one another in disbelief. Mary simply smiles and continues to pray. 

Peter takes off running first, but John is younger and overtakes him. They come to the empty tomb, just as Mary Magdalene had said. The burial cloths are wrapped neatly and an angel confirms the miraculous story: Jesus is not here, he has risen from the dead! Who ever heard of such a thing??

Three days they waited, their lives in shambles, their hopes dashed. My life is in shambles, my hopes dashed, the days of waiting are on me. But every death leads to a resurrection, and here's my hopes that my life being in shambles will lead to a greater thing coming.

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