“…very early in the morning…”

Luke 24: 1

Yesterday we celebrated Easter with all the joy and understanding that 2,000 years has brought.  The church calendar transitions from “Lent” when we walked to Jerusalem with Jesus, to Holy Week or Passion Week when we sat in the events that led to the crucifixion and then the last three days of Maundy Thursday, Good Friday, and Holy Saturday. It all culminated on Easter Sunday with an empty tomb and our cry, “Christ is risen, he is risen indeed.”  For the next six weeks we focus on the Easter Season. This is the time when we look at the proof that Jesus really did resurrect and really is alive … today … and what it means.  Meditating on their stories speaks deeply to our lives today too.  The Romans were not thrown out back then. Ukraine and atrocities occurring in our world challenge us to ponder just how real the resurrection was and what its implications are for our lives.  So let’s start at the beginning.

“On the first day of the week, very early in the morning,

the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb.”

         The women are in deep grief.  Their world has been torn apart.  Their hero has been brutally killed right in-front of them.  I cannot imagine what feelings were swirling in their hearts.  Watching a loved one die from Alzeihmers or a child disintegrate under the influence of an addiction or seeing a marriage slowly whither impacting all those touched by that relationship, cancer, bombing in Ukraine, killings in Uganda all give us glimpses of the deep despair that can settle on our lives.  The Gospel of John says in 20:1 that “while it was still dark.”  Perhaps the women could not sleep from grief.  Perhaps they were in the habit of rising early to prepare for the day.  I love to rise early and watch the dawn gradually break on the  horizon and see the skyline take shape, hopefully turn gradually orange and then fade into light.  These women were in deep grief and in that grief did what they knew was required of them.  They put one foot in front of the other and went to put spices on the body of their fallen friend.

         Sometimes life is like that.  It is so dark, we can only have a glimmer of hope for the coming dawn.  So what helped them?  They had each other.  We say “misery loves company” but having a friend who is willing to listen and help you process is a wonderful gift.  They did that which they knew needed to be done.  Routines help us get through the day.  I love the line in “Sleepless in Seattle” where the hero says he is going to just live each day by sheer routine until he feels alive again.  The journey to the tomb is part of the story and need not be skipped.  There are days when our feet walk a path we hoped we would never have to walk.

         So who are the friends who have your back on those dark days as you wait for the dawn?  I pray you are a friend like that to people. Do you have routines that carry you when your heart needs a timeout to grieve?  Not all journeys are cruises and adventures!  But we can take comfort that the dawn is coming, friends do make a difference, and a new dawn is breaking!  Blessings as you journey.

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