She saw in the dark

John 20:1 On Sunday morning while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been rolled away from the entrance. 11–12 Mary Magdalene stood crying outside the tomb. She was still weeping when she stooped down and saw two angels inside. 14–15 [Mary] turned around and saw Jesus standing there. But she did not know who he was. Jesus asked her, “Why are you crying? Who are you looking for?” 18 Mary Magdalene then went and told the disciples that she had seen the Lord. She saw. In the darkness of night, in the darkness of a tomb, and in the darkness of confusion and grief, she saw. How does that work? —> I’m beckoned into the darkness —> I’m awakened to a sight —> perhaps, with grace, I’m led to a dim recognition of what it is I’m seeing (epiphany!) —> […]

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Still Epiphany

Matthew 2:1–12 When they saw that the star had stopped, they were overwhelmed with joy. (NRSV) Sometimes the Epiphany holds still, and we can catch up with it.

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The breath of God: new life

John 20:22 And when He had said this, He breathed on them and said unto them, “Receive ye the Holy Ghost. I planted bulbs about a month ago, and this photo shows four tiny shoots above the ground. Can you see them? I can, but only because I have felt them with my fingertips. It dropped below freezing last week, which is rare for us, and I worried. But then I remembered that bulbs can survive much worse.  

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The last thing anyone saw

John 20:17 Jesus said, “Go to my brothers and tell them, ‘I ascend to my Father and your Father, my God and your God.’” Acts 1:9 After he said this, he was taken up before their very eyes, and a cloud hid him from their sight. In York Minster, I remember seeing the soles of Jesus’ feet depicted on the ceiling, surrounded by a cloud. The last thing anyone saw of his physical body as he ascended! I can’t find any sign of such a thing on the Internet, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist. Here’s my version.

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Looking for someone else

John 20:14 At this, she turned round and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus. Jesus, I don’t want this to be you. I would guess that Mary saw only two options: Jesus was either dead, or he was alive. She had seen him die and knew he was dead. Then he came back to “life,” and maybe she assumed that if Jesus was “alive” again, he would go back to being how he was before. For me, it’s easy to imagine these two options (and only these two options) for God: (1) God is dead, dead meaning DEAD, and therefore powerless and uncaring; or (2) God is alive, meaning active and powerful. This would be a never-fading, never-dying God who prevented suffering and death from happening in the first place. But what have we got? In John 11:1–44, Jesus allows Lazarus to die, […]

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Present only there

John 20:13 “Dear woman, why are you crying?” the angels asked her. Because my dad’s gone, and I don’t know where he is. Because I saw him cry like that. Because twice, I held him as he cried. Because of the loneliness of the people where he lived. Because he left me a long time ago, and I miss him. Because our reconciliation came only when he was so out of it. Because I never saw him dead, and I don’t know whether he ever looked peaceful. Because I saw a stranger feed him. Because of his childlike moment of joy when the guitar man came. Because I gave him so little such joy, but maybe somehow I could have? Because no efforts to bring him relief or joy seemed to help. Because to visit with God, I had to visit my dad. Because while my dad was sick, Jesus […]

October 20, 2007 John

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What can come out of the dark?

John 20:11–14 The disciples then went back homebut Mary stood outside the tomb weeping.As she wept, she knelt to look into the tomband saw two angels sitting there…. They said to her, “Woman, why do you weep?” “They took my Master,” she said,“and I don’t know where they put him.” After she said this, she turned away and saw Jesus standing therebut she didn’t recognize him. I did a little bit of artwork related to this passage, which you can see by clicking here. A warm thanks to Designs in Light for the photography.

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