To be honest, the concept of Christ’s resurrection puzzled me for many years. As I sat through Easter mass a child, I was able to understand the general sequence of events. Chris was betrayed by one of his disciples. Christ was put to death under the acting Roman governor. Christ rose from the dead on the third day after being crucified.
I wondered why I had to keep going year after year when I knew the story by heart. I could retell it to anyone who asked. Why, then, did I have to go? I had better things to do with my time, like eating Easter candy.
I have a different perspective as an adult. It makes sense to change with age, but I think it’s still necessary to relate my experiences here.
Today’s sermon focused on the fact that when Mary first saw Jesus, she didn’t recognize him. It was only until he called her by name, literally calling, “Mary!” that she did.
Suddenly, in the middle of church, with everyone there, I began to cry. Tears streamed down my cheeks as I listened to the details of a story I knew, a story I had heard over and over, but now it was alive. Jesus called Mary forth by name; he was the good news.
I may have heard this all before, but it’s very possible I didn’t get it. I didn’t let it sink in. I didn’t give it the chance to move me or change me. I didn’t allow Jesus Christ to call me by name and know me.
My prolonged absence — the one that’d kept me from receiving this message — is a heavy burden to bear. Where had I been?
I spent more time looking around today. Spring is here! The hydrangeas and daffodils in the garden are just beginning to bloom, and the sun’s shining so brightly that the sky is smiling back in dreamy shades of Carolina blue. And then I’m reminded of this special place that’s home. All of a sudden I never want to leave, and for that I’m grateful.
But there’s something else: How do I understand something that seems impossible? How do I understand that someone, and that someone being literally God, rose from the dead?
It doesn’t make sense, and I think that’s the point. It’s beyond our understanding; in fact it’s so beyond my comprehension that I won’t even try to acknowledge it for anything more than it is. Jesus Christ offered a perfect sacrifice to save us.
I didn’t do anything to deserve it, but that’s also the point. I’m part of it all, and you are, too. You belong here because you are here. And so do the trees. And the flowers. And the bees and butterflies. And even your neighbor’s dog.
Now that I’ve let this story call out to me by name, I’m found at last. I can enjoy this gift.