11 But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look[a] into the tomb; 12 and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet. 13 They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” 14 When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. 15 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.” 16 Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni!” (which means Teacher).
Last Sunday I wound up going to church twice…at two different churches!
The first service was at my church, St. Mark’s Lutheran church in Pennsburg, and I paid very close attention because I am scheduled to be ‘on deck’ next Sunday, when the pastor is away. After our service was over, I heard from my girlfriend who asked me to attend church with her…initially I said, “no thank you” as I had plenty to do at home, but then I decided that mowing the lawn could wait…and I agreed to join her, texting that “I need more Jesus today”. It was an attempt at a joke, but as I participated in the service, and listened to the sermon, I began to realize that I DID need more Jesus!
In fact, looking at the state of the world today, where too many people are living in the midst of war, crime, poverty, disease and with many others feeling an emptiness in their lives and seeking for meaning, we also need a lot more Jesus…more of the promise of new life given to us in Christ, more of the hope given in the light of the risen Christ, the light that can shine into all the dark places of our world.
Often, as single parents with busy and hectic lives it can seem as if there is not enough Jesus to go around, especially when we are worried about our children, or unsure of what to do next…as our prayers can seem to go unanswered, appearing lost in the fray of world events…as if God has more important things to address; but the amazing thing is that God is beyond our understanding, which is why God came to us through Jesus, who was one of us, as it is only through Jesus that we could come to any understanding about God’s love for us.
Through Jesus God knows what our lives are like, knows the pain and the joy of living, and knows what it is like to be worried about loved ones, and even what it is like to feel as if God has turned silent. As followers of Jesus, we are called to carry out his ministry to the world…the ministry of hope, compassion and of making God’s love known in our world…a world that truly needs to know that love.
While for most of us changing the whole world may seem out of our reach, we can shine the light of Christ into our own little corner of the world…by living our faith out loud and acting as part of the Body of Christ in the world and sharing our faith with our children and with each other. For it is through sharing Jesus with others that we can change the world one little bit at a time…especially when we share him with our children, who (we hope) will go on to share him in their lives, and with their own children and families one day.
Filled with faith, we can be Jesus to all those in need…as Jesus can come to us in many different ways…and like Mary Magdalene, sometimes we do not recognize him in each other…at least not at first…nor do we always see him in ourselves; however, all we have to do is to keep an open mind and an open heart, and sometimes that means that we stop trying so hard to find Jesus and in the world ad simply let Jesus find us…and he does, through those we share our faith with, through our loved ones, friends, professionals, strangers, and of course, our children…we can also see Jesus in those we reach out to help and support as we seek to make their lives brighter…by giving hope and meaning to those who feel they have lost both in their lives.
All of us who follow Christ carry the light of his resurrection with us in all that we do; especially when we are helping others, even in ‘small’ ways, like sharing the wisdom and strength we have gained from being single parents with others who are struggling with the same challenges we have faced as we have raised our children; just as others have reached out to help us when we were in need…just as God reaches out to us with help and hope.
For we all need more Jesus in our lives, and as more of us follow the call of Christ to teach others about the good news of God’s love, the light of God’s grace spreads into all the dark corners of the world, promising that one day the Kingdom of God will become a reality, right here, where we are…and when that happens our children or their children will no longer know darkness in their lives.
Let us Pray
Dear God, thank you for coming to us in the midst of our own lives, for helping us to be ‘right’ where we are. Please open our eyes and our hearts to see you in others, our children, and ourselves. Help us to brighten our world a little at a time by shining the light of your love into our lives, and our homes…and to share this light with our children. Let us gain strength from the love you share with us through others, and to share this love with those who also need more Jesus in their lives…knowing that the more your love is shared, the farther the light of your grace shines to light our all the dark corners of our world, until there is no more darkness left!