Christ is risen!
He is risen, indeed! Alleluia!
Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”—and that he had said these things to her. ~John 20:18~
You wont lag behind, because you’ll have the speed.
You’ll pass the whole gang and you’ll soon take the lead.
Wherever you fly, you’ll be the best of the best.
Wherever you go, you will top all the rest.
Except when you don’t.
Because, sometimes, you won’t.
I’m sorry to say so
But, sadly, its true
Can happen to you.
You can get all hung up in a prickle-ly perch.
And your gang will fly on.
You’ll be left in a lurch.
You’ll come down from the Lurch with and unpleasant bump.
And the chances are, then, that you’ll be in a slump.
And when you’re in a slump, you’re not in for much fun.
Un-slumping yourself is not easily done.
You will come to a place where the streets are not marked.
Some windows are lighted. But mostly they’re darked.
A place where you could sprain both your elbow and chin!
Do you dare to stay out? Do you dare to go in?
How much can you lose? How much can you win?
And IF you go in, should turn left or right…
Or right and three quarters? Or, maybe, not quite?
Or go around back and sneak in from behind?
Simple its not, I’m afraid you will find,
For a mind-maker-upper to make up his mind.
You can get so confused that you’ll start in to race
Down long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace
And grind on for miles across weirdish wild space,
Headed, I fear, toward a most useless place.
The Waiting Place…
… For people just waiting.
Waiting for a train to go or a bus to come, or a plane to go, or the mail to come, or the rain to go or the phone to ring, or the snow to snow, or waiting around for a Yes or No or waiting for their hair to grow. Everyone is just waiting. Waiting for a fish to bite or waiting to fly a kite or waiting around for Friday night or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake or a pot to boil or a Better Break, or string of pearls, or a pair of pants or a wig with curls, or another chance. Everyone is just waiting.
~Excerpt from Oh, the Places You’ll Go! by Dr. Seuss~
Maybe the good ole doctor knew what he was talking about. Dr. Seuss that is. Because this is what it feels like isn’t it? Even on a day such as this… and some may even say, especially on a day like this, it feels like the Christian faith can be described as a life of waiting. From the moment we are baptized, we are so often told that we are waiting. Right? Waiting to get confirmed. Waiting to get married. Waiting to graduate. Waiting for college acceptance letters. Waiting to get done with school. Waiting for marriage. Waiting for children. Waiting for promotions. Waiting for retirement. Waiting for heaven. It seems as though we are always waiting for something.
It was no different for the disciples during the events of Holy Week. They were waiting for the Passover. They were waiting for Jesus to finally enact His plan to save God’s people… whether that come in the form of kicking the Romans out or something comparable to that. Then they found themselves waiting for the verdict. Then they found themselves waiting the beatings to be over. Then they found themselves waiting for Jesus to die. Then they waited for Him to be placed in the tomb. Then they waited for the dawn to come after the Sabbath so they could go prepare Jesus’ body properly. They walked and waited until they reached the tomb. They waited.
I assume that we know the rest of the story because you are here this morning. When they were done waiting… when they arrived at the tomb, things were not at all what they expected. There was no stone to roll away. There was no stench of death. There was no body. There was no Jesus. The very body they had laid in the tomb three days prior was not there! Waiting soon turned to stunned sorrow and wonderment. Where had the body gone? Who took it? What are they going to do now? The questions must have been many. The confusion must have clouded conscious thinking. For Mary Magdalene, the Jesus had been the source of any hope that she had comforted herself with over the past years. She was the one who healed her. He was the one who taught her. He was the on whose feet she had poured expensive perfume. Not only was He now dead. But she couldn’t even perform the last respects to her ridiculed Rabbi. What was there to wait for now? So she turned and saw the gardener. So she ever so desperately inquired about the whereabouts of Jesus. But the gardener only answered one word.
“Mary.” Then it all came rushing back to her! It was Jesus. The same eyes that looked with pity on her when she was freed of the demons. The same voice that had patiently instructed. The same body that had hung on the cross and was laid in the tomb. It was Jesus! This was big. This was huge. What was Mary to do now? There was no more waiting. There was no more passively waiting for life to happen. Life had happened! Life had happened to Jesus! There were so many people to tell. So many things that needed to get done! So Mary ran to where the disciples were waiting. Waiting for the Jews to come and arrest them and put them to death also. She ran to where the disciples were waiting, busted through the door and told them the only thing that mattered. Telling them the only words she could think to say. “I have seen the Lord!” Wow. What a day! No more waiting for Mary! There would be no more waiting for the disciples. They had seen the Lord!
This IS the most amazing account ever told! And that is all well-and-good, but what about us? We are still waiting. We are still waiting on bills that have to paid. Waiting for children to grow up. Waiting for that perfect someone to complete me. Waiting, waiting, waiting and waiting! I am glad Jesus appeared to Mary and to the disciples, but what about us! Aren’t we still waiting? Waiting for Jesus? Waiting to get to go to heaven? And just like so many things in life, the answer is “Yes… and No.”
You see, we are waiting. We are waiting for the resurrection of all flesh. We are waiting for the hope that we are given from the empty tomb of Jesus to be realized in our own resurrection. We are waiting on the new heaven and the new earth. We are waiting for Jesus to return in glory and splendor. We are waiting for the time when the whole world will see the hope that we have spent our entire lives living in and for and in anticipation of. Aren’t we still waiting? In many very important regards, yes… we are.
However, we are not only waiting. Jesus does not call us to merely sit on our hands, in the spiritual sense or the physical sense. He doesn’t call us to merely pine away for the time that He comes back. Our waiting… the waiting of the Christian is a waiting that involves hopeful action. It involves much more than the worlds sees. It involves looking at that big old cemetery on Old 40 and, indeed every cemetery, in eager anticipation knowing that when Christ returns those graves will be open and we will once again be in the perfect presence of our loved ones. It involves eagerly hearing God’s Word so that the hope that we have might continue to grow. It involves feasting at the Lord’s table on the Lord of Life, Himself, so that we might be strengthened for the waiting that have this side of eternity. It means binding ourselves to the tomb of Christ because in His death and resurrection, Christ has bound Himself to us. Paul writes the following in Romans 6,
For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him in order that the body of sin might be brought to nothing, so that we would no longer be enslaved to sin. For one who has died has been set free from sin. Now if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. For the death he died he died to sin, once for all, but the life he lives he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.
There is nothing better than knowing that we have been united with Christ in His resurrection. There is nothing sweeter than knowing that we do not merely wait, but that Christ is acting through us in our vocations to be living testimonies of His resurrection. We can with our words and actions, continue to proclaim, “I have seen the Lord!” to all whom we come in contact. In Christ’s death, we see that this world is temporary. But in Christ’s resurrection, we see that our life with Him is forever!
Christ is risen! He has risen, indeed! Alleluia!