So, they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” ~ Matthew 28:8
I woke up Saturday morning and said “blah” for no particular reason. We had a wonderful Good Friday service at Cedar Grove Cemetery the previous evening. There was a holy silence and communion as we moved among the graves of our friends and community members. A flock of black birds flew overhead as we said “Amen.” Were the birds a wave to the past and an embrace of tomorrow, a sign of resurrection and new life? They disappeared into the falling light.
But Saturday morning I felt blah. Ho-hum. I blamed it on the cold I’ve been fighting all week. Brennan Manning writes, “I have lived long enough to appreciate that life is lived more in the valley than on the mountaintop, that faith is never doubt-free.”
Little Angel wagged her tail and looked longingly at me, so I reluctantly put on my coat and hat and found her leash to take her for our morning walk. We strolled along Grand Avenue greeting neighbors with a simple, “Hello, how are you today?” I stopped at Fahrenheit for a warm cup of coffee, a mocha actually. It’s always good to see Matt and Linda and community members chatting around tables. Parents of high school kids were talking about prom, prom dresses, and the hope that their kids would make good choices after the dance.
One loving father told me, “I told my daughter, ‘I know things can happen when you get around a group of kids and you’re happy and celebrating. Just call me if you need a ride home. Mom and I will come get you, no questions asked.’” His gracious words warmed my heart and lifted me. Grace is everywhere.
Angel and I made it to Boyle Park. Young children were swinging with absolute delight as they reached their toes to the sky with each forward movement. They seemed to say, “Do not be afraid; for see—we bring you good news of great joy for all the people,” (see Luke 2:10). Mothers looked on as they held their babies close to their breath. “Can I go higher Mommy?” one of the little girls swinging asked. “Go as high as you want,” her mother replied.
Angel and I walked on the sidewalk between the two rows of trees that have stood like guardian angels over the park year after year. The branches are still bare, and a few birds watched as we passed beneath them. A robin pecked at food in a patch of greening grass. Two young lovers sat on a park bench, holding hands, gazing adoringly into each other’s eyes. Two geese circling overhead drew my eyes to the clear skies and the snowcapped La Plata’s sparkling in the morning sun.
Beauty was everywhere. Rohr writes, “Resurrection is saying that matter and spirit have been working together from the first moment of the big bang. Resurrection is not a miracle to be proven; it is a manifestation of the wholeness that we are all to experience, even in this world.”
As I rounded the bend of the sidewalk, I heard the gently flowing Mancos River moving through our town and our hearts: cleansing and replenishing. May the healing waters of Grace flow through us, each day, bringing new life and hope. “May our cups overflow. May goodness and mercy follow us all the days of our life,” (see Psalm 23:5-6).
Unseen birds tweeted, chirped, twittered, cawed, and clucked in a chorus of heavenly sound. Their concert was free to all who wanted to stop and listen. Is resurrection everywhere?
Rohr encourages us to look at the different metaphors and symbols “like condensation, evaporation, hibernation, the four seasons, the life cycles of everything from salmon to galaxies, and even the constant death and birth of stars from the exact same stardust. God appears to be resurrecting everything all the time.”
The experience of resurrection—new life, beauty, holiness—saves us from the mundane. As Brennan Manning writes, “An awareness of the resurrected Christ banishes meaninglessness—the dreaded sense that all our life experiences are disconnected and useless.”
Boyle Park reminds of resurrection joy every day. May the living waters flow through us, may we consider the birds of the air, may we be still and know God, may we leave our tombs with “fear and great joy.” Christ is risen and with us. Amen.
Blessings and peace,