From River to Resurrection

Early in the morning
as the sun began to rise
women
went to the tomb

They went to offer
one last gesture
of care
of respect
of love

to the broken body
of the man
the Messiah
the Savior
who had selflessly
offered himself
for them

As they walked that path
from city to garden tomb
the dust rising from their feet
as they walked

Broken hearted
spirits torn in grief

On that Friday before
his broken body
had been taken down from the cross
had been taken up by his followers
had been placed down on the cold floor
on the hollowed out rock
of the tomb

The stone had been rolled
With a resounding thud
it had fallen into place
before the entrance
closing off that tomb
closing them off
from Jesus

from the man they had followed
the Messiah they had longed for
the Savior they had love

As they walked to that tomb
they held on to each other
in their grief

their hearts splintered
by the brokenness of his body
by the brokenness of the world

And they thought
it was
finished

But no

It was
about

to begin

Because
two thousand years ago
in the Holy Land
this

this

is
what Jesus came to do

Two years ago
in the Holy Land

as I stood on the bank of the Jordan River
on a path worn down
by the passage of centuries of feet
Looking out at the water rushing by

I wondered

Could this be where
it all began

Hundreds of miles of shoreline
so the likelihood wasn’t high
but
somewhere along those shores
somewhere along that river

Jesus had stood looking out
at the water rushing by

And so
I wondered

Could this be where Jesus stood

Could his feet have rested
where mine now made
an impression in the muddy bank

Could this be where
he walked
down the slope
his feet entering the cold water
wading out to where his cousin John waited

Could this be where
it all began

Standing on the bank of the Jordan River
on a path worn down
by the passage of centuries of feet
Looking out at water rushing by

and thinking

This beautiful world
populated by beautiful people
made in the image of God

Daily I am amazed
by the
beauty I see
in the world around me

in the kindness of strangers
in the laugh of a child
in a smile set amongst
deep wrinkles

That beauty
though

that image of God

all too often
seems overlaid
with a sharp patina

tainted
sullied
damaged

This beautiful world
created by God
filled with beautiful people
created by God

and yet

we see
and experience

cruelty
unspeakable violence
disregard
callousness and care-less-ness

where human beings
become less than we are
less than we could be
less than we should be

where the image of God is covered over
with something
quite else entirely

While this spirit inside me
longs for something
pure and holy and spotless and joy-filled

while it longs for what is
clean and good and true

all around us the world
seems to clamor loudly for
clear-cut divisions

people analyzed
and judged
and neatly wrapped up into
unambiguous categories of
“us” versus “them”

Never mind the damage done
to the people placed so firmly
on one side of the dividing line
or the other

Never mind the damage done to relationships
to communities
to countries
to the world

The lines are drawn
The sides are taken

The image of God in each other
no longer recognized
no longer looked for
no longer seen

Standing on the bank of the Jordan River
on a path worn down
by the passage of centuries of feet
Looking out at the water rushing by

I wondered

Jesus came willingly
into that ancient
2000-years-ago world

a world that was deeply divided

divided by politics
divided by religion
divided by financial status

by ethnicity
by language
by gender
by ability
by age

And I wondered

would Jesus
born into that
ancient world
in a distant land
would he
recognize his world
in ours

We who are
so deeply
divided

divided by politics
divided by religion
divided by financial status
by ethnicity
by language
by gender
by ability
by age

Jesus’ world
in many ways
not so different from ours

Jesus came willingly
into that world

to show a different way
an alternative way
a better
life-sustaining way

He came
to challenge
the self-sufficiency
of the time

He came
to disrupt the complacency
to confront the cruelty
to oppose the callousness
to expose the injustice

He poked and prodded and provoked

He risked scandal and censure
Without a thought
for his own comfort

for his own preferences

his own safety

In Christ’s family
In this family
there is no one in
no one out
no insider
no outsider

In Christ’s family
In this family
There are only
children of God

In the deepest place in me
in the truest part of who I am

I long for this
I long for a place

where the divisions of the world
are put aside

where each person is known
and valued
and loved

where flaws are seen
and challenged
but never judged

where cruelty is replaced with
compassion

where judgment is replaced with
understanding

where corruption is replaced with
justice

where difficult truths are told
in deeply embedded
love

where perfection is never expected
but always sought

which is only
only

only possible

through Christ

In Christ’s family
In this family
there are only children of God

I long for this
I long for this place

this water
this table
this forgiveness
this joy
this peace

Standing somewhere
along the banks of the Jordan River
on a path worn down
by the passage of centuries of feet

As Jesus walked down to the river

As his feet entered the cold water

As he prepared to be baptized

As he began his public ministry

In that moment

Did Jesus pause

Did he look out at the water rushing by
and think

about all that lay ahead
about all that that moment
would set in motion
Moving as
inexorably forward
as the water
in that never pausing
Jordan River?

Did he think about
his life
which would be given

for us

Teaching and healing
and challenging and forgiving
and loving

Jesus would spend his life
for us

All
leading up to a meal
shared with his friends
on the last night
of his life

A meal which took simple bread
and declared it to be
holy

“My body,”
he cried,
“Broken for you.”

A meal which took simple wine
and declared it to be
holy

“My blood,”
he declared,
“poured out for you.”

In the following hours
as their bodies still digested that meal
of bread and of wine
Jesus was taken from them

Ripped away
accused
and beaten
and mocked
and killed

His broken body
taken down from the cross
taken up by his followers
placed down on the cold floor
on the hollowed out rock
of a tomb

The stone was rolled
With a resounding thud
it fell into place
before the entrance
closing off that tomb
closing them off
from the man they had followed
the Messiah they had longed for
the Savior they had loved

They stood there
holding on to each other
in their grief
their hearts splintered
by the brokenness of his body
by the brokenness of the world

Early in the morning
as the sun began to rise
women
went to the tomb

They came to offer
one last gesture
of care of respect
of love
to the broken body
of the man
the Messiah
the Savior
who had selflessly
offered himself
for them

But
his body

was

not

there

He was gone

In confusion
In anguish
In fear

they walked away

But Mary Magdalene stayed

Weeping
Grieving

And then

(Oh, then!)

“Mary”

She hears her name

and in the span of
two syllables
the chaos and fear
of the past few days

Vanish

Unexpectedly…
Hope out of despair
Joy out of heartbreak
Healing out of hurt
Life out of death

Jesus was risen!

In that garden
with the slanted rays of the sun
just touching her tear-stunned eyes

she moves
from soul-wrenching despair
to indescribable joy
in Jesus’
presence

That joy
That JOY

was carried
within Jesus’ body

That joy
That JOY

was carried within Jesus’ body

as he went down into the waters of the Jordan
as he traveled dusty roads
as he taught in synagogues and Temple
as he healed and loved

That joy
That JOY

was carried within Jesus’ body
as he was nailed to the cross
as he was laid in the tomb

That joy
That JOY

that he carried within him
has now
been released
in the full light of day

That potential
That promise
That hope

From the waters of his baptism
to the garden of his resurrection

That joy
offered freely
a gift beyond price

But
Why

Why would Jesus do this
for us

Why would he give so much
for us

Why would he give it all
for us

for you
for me

Why would Jesus do this

Jesus saw
a people

not defined by politics
not defined by religion
not defined by financial status
by ethnicity
by language

not defined by gender
by ability
by age

Jesus saw
instead

the image of God
in you
in me

perhaps somewhat sullied
perhaps not entirely luminous

But Jesus saw
that image of God
still
there

Still

It cannot be taken away from you

It cannot be put aside
I cannot be lost

And for that

Jesus was willing
to give it
all

My body, he said, broken for you
My blood, poured out for you

On the shores of the river Jordan
In the Garden of Gethsemane
On the cross of Calvary
In the Garden of his resurrection

His body His blood
A gift given for you

in JOY

And so
we come here
together

recognizing the brokenness
of our lives
our families
our community
our church
our world

We come here knowing that
we have a God who meets us
here

at this water
at this table

On this Easter morning
standing here
in JOY

coming forward
in JOY

Welcomed by the Risen Christ
we come to offer
our hearts and lives
in a gesture
of gratitude
of respect of love
to the Messiah
the Savior
who selflessly
offered himself
for us

on a spiritual path
worn by the passage
of centuries of feet

we come
as children of God

Together in joy

Come

This entry was posted in Easter and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to From River to Resurrection

  1. Nancy Anderson says:

    Thank you, Hedy. This is lovely and ALWAYS true and needed.
    Nancy Anderson

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