At sunrise in the garden
Kind love met Mary Magdalene
She had no expectation of seeing
The dead man walking
After his recent encounter with death.
Sightless with grief
Joyfully she knew him
Only when in tenderness
He called her by name.
Behind locked doors they cowered
Frightened for their own lives
And for his final hours
Filled with shame for not being there for him
Knowing that almost to a man they had fled.
Love that keeps no record of wrongs
Within the midst of them
And with his greeting “Peace be with you”
Cast out all fear.
Thomas not being there in the chamber
Proclaimed that only through physical touch
Would he believe.
Not easily angered
Knew what he demanded
And respectful love let Thomas
Touch the scars
More recently healed.
Perplexed companions travelled on a journey
Away from the horror of that Passover week.
Love, that rejoices with the truth
And does not delight in evil
Walked with them.
And when invited in
To sup with them
Gracious love blessed them
With the breaking of the bread.
Rudderless and without direction
After a fruitless night of fishing
They headed back for shore
That celebrates the success of another
Shouted a suggestion
Guiding them to water
Where they made a large haul.
Thrilled and astonished
They turned with recognition
To waiting, silent Love
Preparing a fire
To grill their catch of fish.
Enthusiastic as ever
Splashed out ahead of them
Abandoning the boat
In his excitement to greet.
Love, who is closer to us than we are to ourselves,
Took Peter to one side
To remove his fear of failure
In the morning sunlight;
Ate with him, talked with him
Three times forgiving him;
Empowering love named him
The Rock for all time.
And what are our stories
Of Love of the Resurrection?
The stories of Love
That always protects, always trusts,
Always hopes, always perseveres;
Simply he states I will be with
To the very end of the Age
Forever and ever,
( My poem/prayer is inspired by the risen encounters in the gospel stories of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. It was also inspired by 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 (NIV):
“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.”)
What then is your encounter with the love of the risen Lord?
As I travel through life, sometimes I am walking or skipping, sometimes I stumble and fall, occasionally I am tripped. I have my own stories of Resurrection, often realising in hindsight that the person of Love has met me, a moment that if I blinked I would miss it. Love meets me in my individual need, both in the trivial and the terrible. Love is gentle, not intrusive and the fleeting moment may seem unremarkable to anyone but me. Here are a few of my examples. Please tell me some of yours.
Broken hearted in a forest after a relationship break up, love , silent and patient, lifted my gaze and my spirits when a fox trotted by me unaware of my presence and delighted me that he was there.
After making a public fool of myself while on holiday having lost and found my purse for the tenth time that week; scolded by words of a companion for wasting so much time; I waited behind. Patient love was a small bird singing strongly in a bush beside me, chasing my tears away.
The glory of a beautiful sunset which turned my head with delight and I found the key we had lost.
Anguish on a Saturday night, alone and lonely, feeling less than lovely and no-one at home to my telephone call.(This was a time before mobile phone use; texting and social media) The next morning a passage from the Bible spoke directly to me in my distress. No-one-else knew but the presence behind Love heard my cry.
Screaming at Love with confusion and dashed dreams of a child, yet finding comfort from words on a website when I discover its ok to grieve even at the beginning of lives lost in early miscarriage.
An ongoing situation:
When Love seems far away and my path unclear, learning to take baby steps, hour by hour, day by day, until the fog lifts to reveal short distances ahead:
Being given unexpectedly good advice from an unexpected source to pierce the gloom of depression in the nick of time;
A picture of Jesus looking at me with compassion, when those surrounding us are too scared for themselves; are indifferent or full of blame of me. Over several weeks, I learnt to look into the merciful eyes of Jesus rather than the accusing faces surrounding him and his Love covered my shame of continuing failure.
A chance request from a friend, leading me to discover my diagnosis of dyspraxia after years of struggle at work and play; bringing relief, understanding and advocacy; and courage to persevere.
In day-to-day life:
An uplifting walk amongst my beloved nature;
A word spoken on pause for thought or thought for the day;
A random encounter with just the right person at just the right time.
Knowledge that I am Loved and the prayers and friendship of those closest to me.
Resurrection Love is not an instant quick fix:
I experience sadness too, dreams shattered, silence sometimes to my desperate prayers and confusion as to why things do or don’t happen. This is life in a broken world and I am not immune to that too. I have scars deep and penetrating which sometimes can be scratched open.
We are blest and we are wounded, as we walk alongside each other. We learn and help each other when we are able to reach out and share our thoughts, aspirations, fun and sadness as companions on the way.
“If love should count you worthy, and should deign
One day to seek your door and be your guest,
Pause! ere you draw the bolt and bid him rest,
If in your old content you would remain,
For not alone he enters;…
He wakes desires you never may forget,
He shows you stars you never saw before.
He makes you share with him, for evermore,
The burden of the world’s divine regret.
How wise you were to open not! and yet,
How poor if you should turn him from the door!”
(Second half of The Penalty of Love by Sidney Royse Lysaght)
Suggested Music: What a Wonderful World sung by Louis Armstrong
Deep peace of the running wave to you
Deep peace of the flowing air to you
Deep peace of the quiet earth to you
Deep peace of the shining stars to you
Deep peace of the Son of Peace to you