Christ’s Balm in Our Sorrow
John’s resurrection narrative (John 19:16-18, 28-30, 20:11-18) is an appropriate text for Easter Sunday. Our annual celebration of this central Christian event is characterized by unfettered rejoicing, full of triumphant hymns, banners, and blooming lilies. This gospel writer’s record of Jesus’ first post-resurrection appearance to Mary Magdalene, however, is shrouded in mystery and the stark memory of recent pain and loss. We celebrate the good news that Jesus gave his life for the world. We give praise to God that by Jesus’ resurrection we have been shown the salvation that God offers all.
The weeping Mary of Magdala, however, reminds us that the resurrected Christ approaches us at the point of our grief and sorrow. To fully rejoice in such grace calls us to acknowledge those places in life where we stand in greatest need of salvation, the woundedness which most requires Christ’s balm.
There is no question but that Easter is a season of joy. But the Christian steward comprehends the complex, intertwined relationship between happiness and sorrow, finding in the resurrection of Jesus a salvation for particularly unsalvageable circumstances of life. Such is cause for an authentic and mature joy.
- When have you become aware of Christ’s entrance into your suffering or sense of loss?
- The Christ is the body of Christ. What implications does this have for the ways in which the Church should respond to persons who sorrow?
- How can Christians make sacrifices which benefit others, thus offering signs of God’s eternal love?
- Learn and sing the hymn “The Day of Resurrection.”
- Write a brief drama setting John 20:11-18 into contemporary circumstances. Determine why a follow of Jesus might be weeping, and portray Christ’s entrance in that person’s life.
- Identify persons known to your community who suffer. Plan to take an action (however small it may seem) that will help those persons. You may want to send cards, prepare meals, offer child care, whatever seem appropriate. Then do it!