Sunday’s Scripture ~ Luke 24:1-12
I spent time with my niece last week. Addison helped me prepare a side dish that our family would share at dinner – sliced squash and zucchini on the grill. She was in charge of seasoning; in complete honesty it was her idea to add the red pepper flakes, Anna and Gramps (Mom and Dad)!
(Okay, maybe not complete honesty…Addison had an accomplice!)
After dinner Addison wanted to show me her latest achievement. At the age of almost nine months, Addison is starting to walk. She has a variety of “push toys” that she can position herself behind and then totter all over the house. She pulls herself up and stands next to furniture. She will take steps while holding onto the hands of loved ones. And she loves to dance to the hot dog song, a popular tune on Mickey Mouse Clubhouse.
At times Addison takes steps without fear. At other times she is a bit more timid. What does not change is that she steps. Addison moves forward.
Mixed with fear and timidity, Mary Magdalena and the other women approached the garden tomb. The shadows that lingered since the Sabbath began are finally starting to fade.
Deep blue becomes gray. Gray becomes pale blue. Pale blue gives way to light.
And the women step forward.
They come to the tomb; yet, their intent on being there is not looking ahead but behind. They come to finish preparing Jesus’ body for burial and to their astonishment, Jesus is not there! He suffered and died and left his grave clothes behind.
He is risen, just as he said!
Confident of their next steps, the women leave the garden and hurry to the disciples. They witness to what they have seen, and yet many of the disciples, who had physically moved forward but were still looking behind, did not believe.
Peter is the first to wonder…
He left the safety of the disciples’ hiding place to venture to the tomb. He stepped forward, clinging to his faith.
Could it be?
We that journey with Jesus this week will take many steps – to the upper room, to the garden, to the governor’s house, to the cross, to the tomb. As we journey may we look forward rather than behind. Looking forward will draw our attention to the present moment.
Gone are the shouts of praises and waving of palm branches.
Prepare for the Last Supper.
Then prepare for death.
And once that death has occurred, my friends, do not look back at it.
Honor the steps that you take, be they fearful or timid or heavy or tearful or have some other character. Whatever their character, take steps. Be present.
And prepare for resurrection.
Prayer: *Merciful and everliving God, Creator of heaven and earth, the crucified body of our Son was laid in the tomb and rested. Grant that we may await with him the dawning of the third day and rise in newness of life, through Jesus Christ our Redeemer. Amen.”*
*”Holy Saturday,” The United Methodist Book of Worship 367.