Easter Sunday 2021 - Women With Him: A Feminist Celebration of Easter

Sunday, April 4, 2021





 

Mary, Moments Before: A Prayer


My Lord, which are in heaven
when will you call my name?

Thy kingdom was here, and I walked with you.
Do you see me on earth, all the way from heaven?

Give me this day renewed hope.

And care for me when I wander,
as I care for those who stray.

And lead me not far from you, but deliver me
from sorrow: For this is the goodness, 
and the splendor, and the glory for ever.


Amen.

P.S. If its really you, though--

Call me by my real name, hail me from above
that I may know you yearn for me
and you, the fullness of my love.

Sermon

It was still dark when the women--Mary Magdalene, Mary mother of James, and Salome--arrived at the tomb. It had been three days since their beloved had died on the cross, and they had come to anoint the body.

As the sun rose, they found the stone rolled away. Everyone's hearts stopped--their breath caught up in their chest--as they teetered on the brink of hope or despair.

Could it really be? I mean, Jesus had always talked about the third day. Rising again? No, no that was impossible.

But Mary Magdalene was no stranger to impossibility. Jesus had changed her life in big, miraculous ways. He had cast out devils and raised loved ones from the dead. I bet she also remembered the small miracles that were wrapped up in Jesus's life too. He was, as Rachel Held Evans said, "a man who dined at a leper's house, who allowed a woman to touch him with her hair, who rebuked the Pharisees and befriended prostitutes."

He was the one who chose to spend time with the lost, lonely, and the least of these. He was the one who found them in their grief and met them there. The one who didn't shy away from the ugliness, the dirt, and rawness of humanity, but instead, welcomed it. For this was the impossibility of Jesus.

And that's just it, God is a God of impossibility. I think Mary Magdalene knew and hoped for that deep in her bones, even as she fought against sorrow and despair. In this moment of Jesus at the tomb, Mary shows us what it means to hope.

Because a risen Lord, saving us from our sins and allowing us an eternity, was truly unthinkable. Though Jesus spoke of this future often, no one understood it. Maybe the question, how could a God love me enough to live, die, and rise again, felt deeply unanswerable.

Yet, this is what it looks like and feels like to wash up on the shore of the truly religious, to wash up on the shore of godliness.

Caputo says, "When we...are exposed to something we cannot manage or foresee... The religious sense of life awakens us... we lose our bearing and let go.." tumbling wildly in the realm of God's love.

"Then we sink to our knees in faith and hope and love, praying and weeping like mad..." for the impossible. For the God of our mothers to see us in our darkest days and choose to sit with us. To comfort us and hold us close. Praying for a resurrected Jesus, dripping in glory, to call us by name.

I wonder if in that moment, Mary knew things would never be the same. Because while Jesus called her name, it was really his name that now meant something so much more. On her lips: Rabboni, Master, My Lord, My god, My Dearly Beloved. His name was the chance for soemthign new, the impossible possibility of life after death. A new birth.

---

This Easter Sunday, I speak in awe of God and in awe of Mary who chose to hope. If we think back to her poem, her prayer in the moments before she meets God, how do you see yourself here? What would your prayer sound like? Have you met God in the flesh yet?

Like Mary, let us stay open to the unexpected and say yes to a future we cannot see coming. Perhaps today we can allow ourselves to loosen our grip on what we think is possible, and let ourselves lean into the good love of God as it carries us along. Allow ourselves to be exposed, vulnerable, and moved by the impossible--by the miraculousness of a God who keeps promises, transforms us, and calls us by our real name.
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