April 25

“And there was Mary Magdalene and the other Mary, sitting over against the sepulcher.” Matthew 27:61

How strangely stupid is grief. It neither learns nor knows nor wishes to learn or know. When the sorrowing sisters sat over against the door of God’s  sepulchre, did they see the two thousand years that have passed triumphing away? Did they see any thing but this: “Our Christ is gone!”

Your Christ and my Christ came from their loss; Myriad mourning hearts have had resurrection in the midst of their grief; and yet the sorrowing watchers looked at the seed-form of this result, and saw nothing. What they regarded as the end of life was the very preparation for coronation; for Christ was silent that He might live again in tenfold power.

They saw it not. They mourned, they wept, and went away, and came again, driven by their hearts to the sepulchre. Still it was a sepulchre, unprophetic, voiceless, lusterless. So with us. Every man sits over against the sepulchre in his garden, in the first instance, and says, “This woe is irremediable. I see no benefit in it. I will take no comfort in it.” And yet, right in our deepest and worst mishaps, often, our Christ is lying, waiting for resurrection. Where our death seems to be, there our Saviour is. Where the end of hope is, there is the brightest beginning of fruition. Where the darkness is thickest, there the bright beaming light that never is set is about to emerge. When the whole experience is consummated, then we find that a garden is not disfigured by a sepulchre. (Streams in the Desert)

The small community I call home excels in simplicity. Ours is not a meager existence, but one definitely scaled-down to essentials. We border a fair-sized city to the south and rapidly sprawling bedroom community to the north; “in-between” is a fair description of Bosqueville. We struggle on purpose to remain that way, and become collectively nervous when urban sprawl threatens to infect our delightfully remote way of life.

We avoid media overload for the most part; outdoor advertising billboards do not scar our rural landscape, but our two clapboard churches do have old-school message boards along Rock Creek Road they change manually from time-to-time. Neither the Baptists nor Methodists get into any hurry to update their messages, and I have heard myself more-than-once ask out-loud the value of the signs when driving by the same quip or quote for the umpteenth time. Both signs display their same messages from the day after Easter, but it is the two word admonition on the Baptist board that pokes my conscience each time I pass: “Practice Resurrection.”

In a very real sense, we are all either waiting for or practicing resurrection. To phrase it another way, we are either bystanders or agents of change. Neutral Christianity is a myth; Resurrection demands response. Some walk away in disbelief, while others run pell mell to the empty tomb and live out the remainder of their days infecting all they meet with the unearthly glow of transfiguration. For God’s sake and that of all those you know and will meet before you die, put on full display the glory of God. Practice resurrection.

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