© 2016 by Charles D. Jones

Showing Up

April 14, 2017

One of the best books I read in 2016 was Patrix by Nadia Bolz-Weber, a former stand-up comic, now a Lutheran minister at House of All Sinners and Saints in Denver, Colorado. You can find her on Facebook or at her website. Sober since 1992, she's like the female, heavily tattooed fusion of Chris Rock with Martin Luther.

 

She has much to say about resurrection in the book. She writes, "The Christian faith...is really about death and resurrection. It's about how God continues to reach into the graves we dig for ourselves and pull us out, giving us new life, in ways both dramatic and small."

 

Pastor Nadia calls Mary Magdalene "the patron saint of just showing up." Luke's gospel tells us that Jesus exorcised 7 demons from her. Once freed, she followed Jesus around, supporting his ministry with her own money. Luke doesn't mention how she earned it, and we probably don't want to know. Mary never quit showing up, even when circumstances appeared hopeless. She showed up at the cross with the few remaining faithful. After Jesus died, she showed up at the empty tomb before daybreak. She just stood there and wept. But by showing up, she was the first to encounter the resurrected Christ. 

 

It was Mary Magdalene, this formerly demon possessed woman, who knew first hand that being made new can be messy and dirty. Maybe that's why Jesus chose her to be the first to observe his resurrection and then to tell everyone else. Maybe all resurrections are messy and dirty. That could explain why she at first thought the resurrected Jesus was an unchristlike common cemetery custodian, which in the 1st century was a small step up from death warmed over.

 

Mary Magdalene understood the resurrection business because she had experienced it. That's why she couldn't not show up. Like her, we can stand and weep but then recognize and confirm Jesus as the Christ because when we show up, we are made new; and when we are made new, we must show up, even if we're dirty. 

 

On the 3rd day, Jesus walked out of the tomb, and we don't need to weep. Love, not death, is the final word. Light shines in the darkness and the darkness cannot overcome it, because Jesus is alive. God wins. Cue the F-18s for the flyover so we can celebrate this ongoing resurrection like it's the Super Bowl. 

 

Happy Easter from Bastrop Federal Satellite Camp.

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