By Susan Oxley of Renton, WA, USA
Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni!” (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, “Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” —John 20:16–17 NRSV
My husband Ron likes Jaffas. A Jaffa is a little ball of orange-flavored chocolate covered with a red candy coating. We stock up on Jaffas every time we go to New Zealand, Ron’s native country. Ron keeps them in a car-shaped, crystal jar in our bedroom for easy access. But he doles them out sparingly, two at a time, to make them last.
One day, I was in a foul mood. My litany of complaints was long. Cancer, chemotherapy, and financial concerns were only the start. We faced cutting down a beautiful old fir tree that had become a safety issue. Difficulties with my job added stress. Unwanted changes burdened me. I took refuge in my computer, mechanically answering e-mails.
Suddenly Ron stood beside me with a wide grin and an open hand. In it were two Jaffas. I smiled. He leaned down and tried to feed me. I tilted my head wrong, and the candy balls almost rolled out of my mouth. We laughed, experiencing the crazy, delightful affirmation of life and our love for each other. It was enough to be alive, to be together, and to savor the taste of chocolate. Love renewed me.
Resurrection is not just a one-time event in the life of Jesus. It is more than a large miracle, a total healing, or a mystical encounter of life after physical death. It is a gift of renewal that can occur every day amid difficult moments and bad moods.
Life is precious. Affirm the people you love and remember Jesus. The first encounter he had after the Resurrection was a relationship that caused Mary to see clearly the Living Christ. We must see each other honestly. Embrace each wonderful moment and feel the energy, the new life that God gives. Share a smile. Offer a Jaffa. Try it. You’ll like it.
Prayer for Peace
Teacher God, you have shown us a generous way to live—why don’t we share it with everyone? You have given us the perfect example of peace—why don’t we practice peace always? Forgive us, God, for any violence in our thoughts and actions.
Spiritual Practice: Healing for Broken Spirits
Begin with quiet prayer. Ask God to help you detect some “sore places” in the body of Christ and God’s creation. Become aware of people who feel separated, wounded, or left out. Reflect on or write a short journal entry of healing words to at least one person who comes to mind. Ask God for words that will touch this person’s broken spirit like healing ointment. Keep this person in your heart and prayers today and act on any ideas that come to bring blessing and wholeness.
Today, God, I will pass the peace from person to person, from nation to nation, from generation to generation.