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Signposts: Daily Devotions

Written by Mary C. Earle

Monday, April 13

Suddenly Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came to him, took hold of his feet, and worshiped him.
—Matthew 28:9

Monday in Easter Week

While the secular calendar tells us that Easter is over, and it is time to finish off the candy and store the Easter baskets, the Church is just beginning the Great Fifty Days—the season of Eastertide which leads us to the Day of Pentecost, fifty days after Easter.

In many churches, holy communion will be celebrated every day of this week, in recognition of the great hope and promise of this season. As we go through this week, each day will offer us a different account of an encounter with the Risen Christ. Today’s is from the Gospel of Matthew.

The resurrection account in Matthew offers us this intriguing line: Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” The “them” is Mary Magdalene and “the other Mary” (Matthew 28:1), who are going to the tomb and are the first recipients of the news of Jesus’ resurrection.

In this narrative, a strong earthquake is responsible for the stone being moved from the mouth of the tomb. And certainly there is a way in which encountering life when one is prepared for death leads to the shifting of internal tectonic plates.

Forces are at work that shake our foundational perceptions of reality. It’s hard to believe that we are in charge if the tomb is empty. It’s hard to maintain the myth of self-sufficiency in the face of the Risen Christ, who greets us as he greets these women.

Eastertide offers us fifty days to wonder and rejoice in this God who brings forth life from death. Of course, it won’t make much difference to us if we aren’t willing to acknowledge the parts of ourselves and of our culture that are deadened or death dealing.

As long as we won’t tell that truth, won’t look it straight in the face, it is unlikely any of the resurrection accounts will mean much to us. It will all just seem like a happy little story to keep unsophisticated people content.

It may be that we are only open to the quantum leap of resurrection when we have looked into the maw of death—perhaps our own, perhaps the death of someone we love dearly. It may be that we only know the risen life in ourselves if we have come to the truth of our own deadness—maybe addiction, maybe greed, maybe ruthless competition. It can have many faces.

When we face into whatever entombs us, we open the possibility of hearing the voice of the Risen Christ, greeting us there, at the moment when all we expected was death. Be open to the possibility of resurrection, of life being brought forth from death, of the seed of an old life breaking open so that something new may begin to grow.

Risen Christ, grant me ears to hear your greeting, and a heart open to your voice. Amen.