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Bishop Kym Lucas will lead us in worship May 12, 2024. Bring your mothers, grandmothers and special friends for a celebration of all the wonderful mothers God created just for us.

Or just come celebrate the rebirth of Spring with us!

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  • pjschurchdenver

Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord.” ~ John 20:18

This is the final reflection on this journey, and I want to end by saying what a privilege it has been to accompany you along the way during this season of Lent. Having walked through these forty days together, let us now share in Easter joy.

Each Gospel has a different account of the moment the disciples discover Jesus’ empty tomb. In reading the four accounts this year, I was struck by the way angels appear in the texts. In John 20, two angels dressed in white sit where Jesus had been lying. In Mark 16, an angel appears as a young man, dressed in a white robe, sitting on the right side of the interior of the tomb. In Matthew, the earth trembles as an angel descends from heaven to roll back the stone and sit on top of it. And in Luke 24, two angels assure the women who have come to Jesus’ tomb that Jesus is alive.

Sometimes the angels bring words of reassurance. In other stories, they simply state that Jesus has been raised. And in one instance, the angels are confused as to why Mary Magdalene is crying. Doesn’t she know? Christ is alive and has been raised from the dead.

As we come to the end of this season, I am reassured by the physical placement of these angels. The Gospels tell us that these messengers are seated on top of, beside or just inside death’s tomb. They have come to announce a new reality, and I wonder if we, as Christians, aren’t called to join these angels in doing the same. Fearfully, tremblingly, very imperfectly, we are called to sit in places of darkness and terror and proclaim that death has no victory here.

Today’s readings

Alleluia. Alleluia. Alleluia.

Christ has risen indeed.

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  • pjschurchdenver

So Joseph took the body and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth and laid it in his own new tomb, which he had hewn in the rock. He then rolled a great stone to the door of the tomb and went away. ~ Matthew 27:59–60

About a year ago, the United States Surgeon General warned of an epidemic of loneliness. He described acute isolation as significantly more widespread than previously imagined and as equally or more dangerous to Americans’ health as smoking and obesity. I found myself thinking about this epidemic of loneliness while reading Matthew 27:57–66, which describes Joseph of Arimathea wrapping Jesus’ body in cloth, laying the body in a tomb, rolling a stone to shut the tomb and walking away.

Jesus is isolated and shut away, separated by a wall of cold stone.

In Christian tradition, Holy Saturday commemorates the time when Jesus descended into the depths of hell. I recently saw a dramatic, medieval Christian painting portraying Jesus entering hell through the open mouth of a crocodile-like demon. As a person in the twenty-first century, though, I imagine this scene somewhat less literally. Today, as Jesus is entombed, I imagine Jesus entering the hell of acute loneliness, descending to the depths of isolation and pain.

Tradition has it that Jesus enters hell in order to share in this experience—and to redeem and liberate us from its grip on our lives. Let us pray that this may be so. There is so much isolation and loneliness in our world today and so much hunger for genuine connection. Easter has much to do with the grace found in friendship and community.

Today’s readings

Reflect on how the Good News of the Resurrection can take away the sting of loneliness. How can you be Christ’s hands and feet in that work?

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