I always think of the family and friends that loved Jesus so very much and what this time after his “death” might have felt like?
Is it all that different from my own experiences of sickening silences after the funeral director has been paid, the last of the casserole dishes returned, and sitting alone on the couch after everyone has gone; while the colorful roses and carnations wilt and brown on the slight mound of newly turned dirt of earth? Is it so unlike what those who knew and loved Jesus might have said to one another, with still stinging and swollen eyes, “Now what?”
I visited about this with one of my Spiritual Directors this week; his response was a reminder of the final words of Mark*, “Trembling and bewildered, the women went out and fled from the tomb. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid. – Mark 16:8
Trembling and bewildered.
I get that. Because not only had they “lost” their beloved in the person, they believed they were now returning to a time in their lives when the dying brother could not be resurrected; the lame made to walk, the prostitute understood, forgiven and commanded to go and act with the same unfettered love as received from Jesus.
Unlike today, the mourners of those times did not have the advantage of two thousand years of history and personal experience to know that day was not the ending, but rather the beginning of new life – eternal life – life of love, forgiveness, mercy and grace by the light of Christ.
But I do. And this week has been filled with unexpected and uncanny moments to catch hope and recognize commission to carry on with new life and love for self and others.
And that can never be the wrong answer to “Now what?”
*The earliest manuscripts and some other ancient witnesses do not have verses 9–20.