The Power of Easter; The Miracle of Faith
M. Jolaine Szymkowiak
Ah, It's Easter Sunday. A joyous occasion, a season of renewal, a time of extreme worship. Sanctuaries filled with lots of beautiful flowers: lilies, tulips, hyacinths and sometimes balloons. The children, especially the little girls, are showing off their new clothes. There is a sense of excitement, and expectancy that ripples through the congregation. Families will meet for a holiday meal after services. The little ones eagerly anticipate the Easter egg hunt. Oh, such a day. New clothes, stuffed animals and Easter bunnies, decorated eggs and lots of candy.
Wow! What have we done? Is this the Easter we are to celebrate? Is that all that Easter is about? Are we so glad to see the signs of spring that we forget the true meaning of the day? Are we so eager to celebrate that in our joy we bring in frivolity instead of the awe, reverence, thankfulness that this day exudes? I sometimes think we have the two days reversed. The celebration of the people in Jerusalem that season was on the day now called Palm Sunday. People waving palm branches, shouting acclamations, a parade. I'm sure that if they had had balloons then they would have had them that day along with all the rest. It was a day of great celebration.
However, Easter day denotes Jesus' resurrection as one of awe, wonder, and reverence. A lot happened to Jesus in the preceding week. Perhaps a time of reflection needs to happen of what had gone on during the week before, how that applies to our own lives, and with the meaning of the resurrection, what does the future hold in a richer, deeper relationship with God in Christ. Easter is so much more than decorated eggs, new clothes and Easter bunnies.
Mary Magdalene could really tell us all about that time, something so awful had happened and then was followed by confusion, frustration, moving on to wonder, awe and reverence. It turned into a wonderful day. A day she would not forget, no one should forget.
She followed Jesus not only as a rabbi, but he was her healer and beloved teacher. She gave generously and is listed in the gospels among those many women who supported Jesus. Mary Magdalene, once possessed by the devil, had received another passion, Jesus. She wanted to be near him for protection from evil spirits but also to fill her mind and her whole being with him and his teaching. She and other women who had been healed of demonic possession accompanied Jesus and his disciples (Luke 8:1-3). Mary knew the spirit world first hand. That may be why she was the first to see Jesus; that may be why she and the women with her at the tomb saw the angels and great light; Peter and John did not.
Let's look with Mary Magdalene as she experienced that day. As Mary Magdalene and the other women walk toward the tomb at first light the morning following the Passover, I imagine her thoughts went back through the events of the past week. Jesus ha ...
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