DO NOT HOLD ON
with Rev. Rachel
17 DO NOT HOLD ON - John 20
He could have at least given her a minute. Instead, Jesus waits only as long as it takes for her to recognize him. Mary Magdalene is on another of God’s errands in no time. “Go to my brothers and say to them...(vv.16-17).
Easter is a season. Though it is tempting to let it be a day, there is too much at stake. There is no other time in the church year that can take its place. Sunday begins a fifty days for something or other. What’ll it be?
Some parameters: (1) Easter is a time to receive glimpses of transformation—key word, receive. (2) Easter is a season to allow God to bring life out of death; which, by the way, can ask us to stick our necks out a little past the point with which we are comfortable.
It’s not that Easter is a gift and some assembly is required. [I’ll have to think on a better metaphor.] What I am trying to say is that Jesus speaks when he rises. There are words of instruction for each and all of us that are as precious as the news of a tomb told oh, hell no.
God in Jesus seems to already be whispering something to me about these fifty days. While I don’t want to come to any conclusions ahead of time, I sense that the crucified one may rise with a word for me about beginning again.
A million things could and do happen that put us in that back-to-the-drawing-board kind of place. We pick that fight again with a loved one, after a season of truly being our better self. We gain back the weight we worked to lose. Grief strikes like a Nor’easter on the heels of high tide, right when we thought we had progressed.
With the words “Do not hold on to me,” Jesus is not shooing Mary Magdalene away. I believe he intends to be her Lord, her Rabbouni, as she goes and does for others (v.17). Jesus is going to help her begin again at the same time as he helps the broader community of disciples to begin again.
Dear friends, do not assume that what you are called to offer for the collective is somehow separate from how God is relating to you or wanting to relate to you. A colleague writes, “I think we are always having awakenings, where we realize that we have become unfamiliar...we have forgotten how personally he comes into our lives.” This Easter, give Jesus a chance to love you and send you at the same time.