Ron Harmon, president of Council of Twelve Apostles
Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni!” (which means Teacher)…Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”; and she told them that he had said these things to her. -John 20:15-16, 18
I find it is in the very places that appear most desolate that the Spirit is most present. This often surprises us, but it should not. It is as though light is drawn to darkness, or water to desert. Scriptural images of “ways in the wilderness” and “streams in the desert” remind us of the thin space between present reality and God’s future possibility.
Mary Magdalene, just after sunrise on the first day of the week, went to the tomb, where she experienced the unexpected. Someone had rolled away the large stone protecting the entrance. Immersed in her grief she initially could not comprehend that Jesus had risen! Then Jesus called her by name, and she recognized him. She rose to tell the disciples the good news.
A homeless man in southern California rose before his congregation to share the good news of 114 days of sobriety. It was not his first attempt, but he found the courage to keep trying in a loving community that always encouraged and supported what could be.
Shannon Watts, a mother of five, rose to organize Mothers Demand Action the day after the Sandy Hook School shooting tragedy. She started a Facebook group with the message that all Americans can and should do more to reduce gun violence.
In 2019, a million students across the world rose to participate in the first Youth Climate Strike, walking out of school to demand that adults take decisive action to save our planet. They were joined by adult activists and workers in 150 countries.
As I write this reflection, I prepare to rise in solidarity with women across this country who will march for human rights, including women’s rights, immigration reform, health-care reform, the environment, LGBTQ rights, racial equality, freedom of religion, workers’ rights, and tolerance.
“He is risen” is more than a theological affirmation. It is expressed every day in men, women, and children, who-like Jesus-refuse to accept the status quo. They rise against all odds to march, speak, and enact God’s future of shalom into being. He is indeed risen!
“Practice Resurrection” (Wendell Berry).
During this Easter season, we invite you daily into a breath prayer focused on resurrection. With each exhale, respond in a word or phrase to the question, “What is dying?” (fear, anger, assumptions, etc.) With each inhale, notice a response in a word or phrase to the question “What is rising?” (love, courage, trust, etc.) You may choose to use the same word or phrase throughout this season, or let each day bring its own unique response to this sacred pattern of dying and rising that is central to our faith.
Today’s Prayer for Peace
Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.