Monday, September 25, 2006

Joy Comes in the Morning

Matthew 28:1 (New Living Translation)
New Living Translation (NLT)
Holy Bible. New Living Translation copyright © 1996, 2004 by Tyndale Charitable Trust. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers.
Matthew 28
1 Early on Sunday morning, as the new day was dawning, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went out to see the tomb.

What a sense of fresh newness there is in those words; "Early on Sunday morning, as the new day was dawning..." The peace and hush of the early hour is almost tangible.

The anguish, agony and unanswered questions of the preceding days were momentarily forgotten as Mary Magdelene and "the other Mary" went out to see the tomb. Their feet must have run through grass still wet with morning dew and the morning breeze must have caught the fragrance of the precious ointment they carried to anoint Jesus' body and danced it around them.

Did they brace themselves against the flood of overwhelming emotion that must have filled their hearts? Did they blink back tears with determination and swallow back the sobs of sorrow that rose in their throats as I would have done? Or did their tears flow freely as they approached the place where Jesus had been laid?

Ah, but a "new day was dawning," and what a day it would be! Within the next few moments, events unfolded that forever lifted the weight of sorrow from their hearts. Nothing was as they expected. There was an earthquake, an angel, a stone rolled away; an empty tomb, and, as if that wasn't enough; as they ran to share all of this with the other disciples, there was Jesus himself.

I have a favourite scene in the movie "Steel Magnolias" where Sally Field plays a mother who has just buried her daughter. She holds it all together during the funeral, but it's obvious from her tight lips and anguished eyes that she's a mass of emotion ready to explode. In the cemetary afterwards, with her close friends, she lets go, unleashing a torrent of emotion, mostly anger, that this has happened. One of her friends grabs "Weezer," a crusty old soul, and holds her in front of Sally Field's character. "Go on," she says, holding her like a sacrificial lamb,"Hit Weezer." The actors carry the audience with them on a roller coaster of emotion, ending with tears of laughter at this crazy moment of humour in the midst of such wrenching grief. I imagine the Marys felt something like that roller coaster.

The God I have come to know, is like that. He turns everything upside down; the dead live, the poor are invited to a banquet, the sinner who returns is clothed in the finest robe. And joy comes in the morning.

Psalm 30:5 (New International Version)
New International Version (NIV)
Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984 by International Bible Society
5 For his anger lasts only a moment,
but his favor lasts a lifetime;
weeping may remain for a night,
but rejoicing comes in the morning.

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