Welcome to the garden!

Even as we gather in our sanctuary this morning, we truly stand in the garden where Mary encountered Jesus. Like her, we may be slow to grasp the full significance of all it means to be in the presence of the One who suffered so we would be spared, who died so we might live, who died so we would have eternal life. Like her, we must shake off our awe and throw away our doubt. We must open ourselves completely to the miracle of the Resurrection and embrace our Savior with gratitude and devotion.

This is the end of our Lenten journey, but it is the beginning of another. Like Mary, we may want to cling to the joy, we may want to savor the delight of our individual relationship with the Lord, but there is work to be done. In the first moments of their reunion, Jesus tells Mary to go spread the word, the great and glorious news of His Resurrection. We too are charged on this Easter morning with the same sacred task.

We are the people of the Resurrection. We know what it means to be loved despite our failings and flaws. We know how it feels to be forgiven even when we struggle to forgive ourselves. We know how the power and beauty of God’s grace transforms our lives and guides us along His path. We need to share that, in word and deed.

It’s wonderful here in the garden, but this is not where we’re meant to stay. We come to celebrate, to share our joy and love with one another, but we also come to prepare, to soak up the strength and the passion of this day, so we can arm ourselves for the magnificent task ahead – sharing the Good News and showing how God’s love in action can change hearts, lives, and the whole word.

Let us go forth, in joy and in power. He is risen. He is risen, indeed!

Jesus said, “Do not hold on to Me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to My brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, to My God and your God.’” Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that He had said these things to her.”
John 20:17-18