Just some early morning thoughts from me to you…
Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot. They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?”
“They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.
He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”
Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”
Jesus said to her, “Mary.”…
Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!”
John 20: 11-18 (NIV)
Both knees ended up burned–through my jeans–by the heat from the roof shingles.
And so, even though I would like to say that I felt hope when I awoke this morning, I really didn’t. Hope would have been appropriate as we begin to look ahead this week toward the events which will eventually lead to and surround the celebration of my risen Christ on Easter Sunday.
But the truth is it wasn’t only my knees I was feeling, but also my shoulders and lower back as I awoke this morning. It was from something I decided I just had to do yesterday. Couldn’t wait for help until today or tomorrow–I had to do it right then. I think Lynda has told me before it’s called being obsessive compulsive (OC).
And so in the midst a number of other things I was working on indoors yesterday–which I could have, and should have, comfortably continued to do–I instead decided to take time out during the hottest part of the day to clean the leaves out of the gutter connecting the screen enclosure to the roof on the back of the house. Just in case it rained again as it did the day before. A roof, I might add, with a pitch to it steep enough to take your breath away. Lynda tried to dissuade me, couldn’t, and so instead checked periodically to make sure I was still up on the roof and moving.
And as the day wore on it got hotter, but then it also got better, because with the job about to be completed, I unexpectedly learned that our two precious granddaughters would be staying with us for the evening and overnight. It was a surprise announcement in the midst of an otherwise hot, difficult afternoon. Many of you understand how that works; the rest of you perhaps will one day.
Let the celebration begin.
It reminds me of a scene in a cemetery many years ago–the last place you would expect a celebration to occur. It’s recorded in the passage of Scripture above. Mary was there at the tomb early on Sunday morning looking for her Lord. She wanted to anoint His body with spices. But all she could remember was the cross.
The image of three days earlier is still seared in her memory. She could still hear the religious leaders screaming for His blood. She could see the Roman whip flying through the air and landing to rip still more skin off His already bloody back. She winces, remembering the thorns cutting His forehead, and she cries, remembering His lifeless body hanging on the cross.
It’s over, she thought again–He’s gone. And with Him, her hope was gone. Mary is worn out, overcome and feeling defeated by all the events of the last few days. She doesn’t notice as the early morning gloom and gray gives way to sunlight and yellow as she walks on to complete her mission, because even though it’s Sunday–for Mary, it’s still Friday. Her Savior is dead. All hope is gone.
And on this day as we approach Easter Sunday once again, and remember all that Mary felt and experienced, I know that many of you might be feeling a bit like Mary did. Worn down, worn out, overcome, and feeling a bit defeated. Times are difficult in your lives, and there doesn’t seem to be much sunshine breaking through. Many of you are at that same place in your lives as Mary was that damp gray Sunday morning. Perhaps we have just lost a loved one and don’t know how to move on. Our job seems to bring us less satisfaction with each passing day–if we have one at all. Each day the budget seems to get tighter and tighter, and the food packages at the store seem to have fewer ounces, yet the same or higher price.
And if those aren’t enough, we learn that a relationship we just knew was made in heaven has begun to skid out of control. We have been scheduled for yet another surgery for something we thought was under control and the doctor is uncertain about the future. Our career has taken an unexpected turn for what seems to be the worst and we feel like we’re standing on the edge of a cliff overlooking a valley and can see nothing encouraging in the view below. One of our teenagers isn’t sure there’s a future for them, so what’s the use; while another seems to have forgotten the values that we thought had shaped them to this point.
“Mary, why are you crying,” came the voice from behind her. She thought it was the gardener, but then she realized it was her Lord. You can almost hear Him saying to her–
“Hi Mary, don’t cry. I’m here. I’m alive. Let the celebration begin.”
And that is exactly what He is saying. Today, tomorrow and every day. And He’s saying it to you and He’s saying it to me–
“Hi Scott, I’m here, I’m alive. You take whatever your facing, Scott, one step at a time, with Me, through Me, and with My power, and I’ll deal with the future.”
And that’s what we should be remembering through whatever we are going through or dealing with. That’s the promise, so let the celebration begin.
My knees are still a bit red and sore. That’s temporary, but the Hope and celebration are forever and eternal!
“Hi_______, I’m here. I’m alive.”
Let the celebration begin!
In His Name…Scott
Copyright 2012. Scott L. Whitaker. All rights reserved.