“…Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised; he is not here…”(Mark 16:6)
Flight from the Light
If you are anything like me, at some point in your life you have experienced a situation so painful that you could barely imagine the dawn of another day. They are moments when all seems lost in the darkness – without hope. They are moments when we are tempted to lose the will to continue forward. We only find some solace by remaining in a dark and deep place by ourselves (mistakenly thinking that no one else could possibly know our pain).
For me one of those moments occurred when we lost our daughter at birth. I will never forget holding her tiny little body. Almost twenty-four years have gone by and I can still remember the very first time I walked outside the hospital walls. The radiant light of the sun violently struck me. I remember thinking “how dare this sun shine so brightly? I wondered “who gave the sun permission to keep rising day after day?” I could not accept the light! My only relief was being alone in the darkness of a room, where I could be with my pain and my tears.
Well as we know, the sun did continue to rise day after day. After some time I reluctantly accepted that the radiant light of the sun would not stop shining. The sun was not going to surrender to my desire for darkness. Ultimately, the sun was a defiant challenge to my emotional and mental state. The sun’s radiance was like a voice loudly saying “You must continue to live. You must continue forward.” You must let the light of the sun warm your broken heart.”
I believe that the three women who went to the tomb in this Markan version of the resurrection, were feeling a bit like this. They had lost their teacher, friend and lord. They had never imagined that their journey with Jesus would end on a cross and a dark tomb. They never thought they were going to have to live their lives without him. I supposed they might have even wanted to enter the darkness of that tomb in order to give voice to the darkness they felt in their lives.
Their initial reaction to God’s messenger affirms that the light that shone on them on that first Easter morning was not well-received. We are told that the women fled from the tomb, terrified. God’s gift of the resurrection, God’s determination to break into the fears and pain of their lives was not easy to embrace. The resurrection of Jesus challenged all they had come to know in this world. It defied human understanding.
So as we continue to reflect on the events of 2,000 years ago; as we continue to embrace the resurrection of that first Easter morning, perhaps this is an opportunity for us to again confess that the light of God is often indeed more than we can accept; perhaps it is an opportunity to confess that there are times when we like the three women, flee in terror.
However this Easter is also an opportunity to once again reaffirm that the light of God will not be compromised; it will not be extinguished. It is a light that will continue to shine into the darkness of our hearts and minds with a relentless faithfulness. It is a light that will continue to shout out to us ”Death, sin, and darkness will not have the final word.”
God in Jesus has spoken! May that Word – continue to shape our ministries, our witness and our hearts!