Barry Parish Church

6th April 2020

Glimpsing Resurrection



Matthew 27:61
Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were there, sitting opposite the tomb.

I’ve always been intrigued by the tenacity of the two Marys who sat by the tomb. Why didn’t they simply leave when it seemed clear they could do no more? They had endured a long night and day, accompanying Jesus through all the horrific events that led to his death - the trials, the procession, the crucifixion, the final cry. They witnessed his body being removed and laid in a tomb. And still they waited and returned early after Sabbath. And their reward? Was to witness resurrection firsthand.
On so many levels it makes sense that to witness resurrection we have to stay close to the tomb. Yet often we are busy looking for the next new thing, rushing on from the place of death to work out what we should do next. Indeed we are encouraged not to allow our thoughts to linger on what has been lost but on what has been found. It is counterintuitive to sit with death. Especially in a church anxious for survival, eager to move on to restoration.
Perhaps faith and praxis has to be much more counterintuitive. Perhaps when every other area of our lives is crying out for life to return to whatever a new normal might look like, after this pandemic, even though we know we will be irrevocably changed, perhaps there is a call for people of faith to be slower. Partly because we are often the ones called to minister and accompany people through death and mourning. But also because we want to wait on God to show us the way of resurrection today. We’ve always claimed that we are about discerning the mission of God, about letting God direct our paths. That discernment is going to be critical as we emerge from this time of global trauma and crisis. A quick fix is neither desirable nor sustainable. Rather, attuning our hearts to the “slow work of God” as Teilhard de Chardin puts it will be vital for finding a way through. Yes the rate of change, the rate at which we we’ve had to respond to adaptive challenge has accelerated but we are still called to accompany folk through transition, to care for hearts and minds and to nurture souls. To do that, we must attend to our own souls. That’s why we must be prepared to linger by the tomb - so that we might see for ourselves those discarded grave clothes that symbolise those things by which we no longer need to be held and point to the new beginnings that are possible. Only once we have watched and waited and glimpsed resurrection will we be commissioned as the women were on Easter morning : “Go Quickly and tell the good news.”

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