By Interim Bishop Sally Dyck of California-Nevada Conference
Early in the morning of the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb…
While it was yet dark…Mary Magdalene got up and walked to the tomb where they had laid Jesus’ body right before the Sabbath began. Unable to prepare his body for death, early in the morning Mary went to the tomb out of love and duty, not understanding or even hope. She had no imagination for what she would find there.
But she put herself in the right place at the right time. She would never have been a witness to the empty tomb if she hadn’t faithfully, dutifully, as well as lovingly, gone to the tomb…while it was yet dark!
There are so many things these days—in our world, our nation, and our church—that overwhelm us. Cynicism or pandemic fatigue creep in and we stop putting ourselves in the places where something new can happen and surprise us! But Mary went on the pathway that led to new life, even though she had no clue what would happen. She put herself in the right place at the right time…and she saw the risen Christ who brings new life and joy.
Nothing is harder for us to do when we are confused, angry, hurt, disappointed, still in the dark than to stick to the pathways that lead us to God. To pray when we don’t feel like praying and our prayers seem to go about as far as our lips. To continue to worship, to read the scriptures, to attend to the practices of our faith. Even to go to church, when we’re just not feeing it! Just when we need it the most, we excuse ourselves from the pathways that lead to new life and hope in Christ…and we risk missing all that Christ has to offer us!
Gerald Manley Hopkins, an English Jesuit priest, wrote a poem many years ago called, “The Wreck of the Deutschland.” It’s a poem describing the shipwreck, much like the Titanic, in terms of the story of Good Friday and Easter. The last few words of the story-poem are: “Let Christ easter in us…”
Let Christ easter in us. Hopkins changed Easter from a noun to a verb. Let Christ easter in us. Easter isn’t just an event that happened once; it’s a verb, an action, something that’s happening to us, around us, within us, through us, in spite of us, right now and all the time. It happens in the wrecks of life, the storms on the sea, the heartaches and the pain. It’s happening in all the Good Fridays of our existence. Christ Easters in us while it is yet dark.
If you find yourself wandering in the dark, keep to the path and trust that Christ will easter in you, in me, in us, bringing new light, new hope, and a renewed faith.
Bishop Sally Dyck