So Joseph took the body [of Jesus] and wrapped it in a clean linen cloth and laid it in his new tomb, which he had hewn in the rock. He then rolled a great stone to the door of the tomb and went away. Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were there, sitting opposite the tomb. – Matthew 27: 59-61
Dear Friends in Christ,
This past week has been quite heavy here at St. David’s. Yes, we celebrated a glorious kick-off Sunday with joyful music, delicious food, and Spirit-filled moments. Yet, on that same day we received the difficult news that a seven-year-old parishioner had died. It is never easy to hear that kind of announcement. In fact, it felt like a punch to the gut; like the wind was taken out of my sail.
I am grateful that after learning this information, I stumbled upon two dear colleagues in the hallway. The three of us embraced one another with tears streaming down our faces, articulating our pain, and just being present with one another.
This encounter reminded me of the women, the disciples, who walked with Jesus in his last moments on earth. Women who kept showing up, no matter how difficult the journey became. Mary Magdalene and other women disciples were there with Jesus as he stumbled through the streets of Jerusalem, was hung on the cross, died, and was buried. They did not walk away from the pain, from the death of their friend, but instead they remained present. They gathered together, grieved together, and showed up for one another.
That is what we are called to do in moments such as these. As a Christian community, we are privileged to walk with each other in times of suffering and joy, through mountains and valleys, at weddings, baptisms, funerals, and everything in between. Being a community of love means showing up when it is difficult, even when the tears are streaming down your face. It means providing a meal, giving a hug, and sharing memories of the departed.
We do not have to know what to say, for there is nothing that we can say that will take away the sting of grief. However, we can be present, show up, and choose love in uncomfortable moments and in difficult times. We can choose love this day and every day.
As we know as disciples of Jesus, death is not the final word. The women who showed up time and time again were not just witnesses to suffering and pain, but they were also witnesses to a new beginning, transformation, and the resurrection. As Mary Magdalene and the other women showed up on Easter Sunday to anoint Jesus’ body, they found that he was not there, but had risen! My friends, joy does indeed come in the morning. Yet for now, we wait, we watch, we show up and grieve together.
Keep showing up friends, God is with us.
God’s peace and love,
The Rev. Sarah Dunn+