Sunday, April 1, 2018


Image by Adam Bowie

The Hands of Holy Week:
Mary Magdalene

A Greeting
My soul shall rejoice in the Lord,
exulting in his deliverance.
(Psalm 35:9)

A Reading
Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary
Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been
removed from the tomb. [She] stood weeping outside the tomb.
As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; and she saw two
angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying,
one at the head and the other at the feet. They said to her,
‘Woman, why are you weeping?’ She said to them, ‘They have taken
away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.’ When
she had said this, she turned round and saw Jesus standing there,
but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her,
‘Woman, why are you weeping? For whom are you looking?’
Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, ‘Sir, if you have
carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take
him away.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Mary!’ She turned and said to him in
Hebrew, ‘Rabbouni!’ (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her,
‘Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the
Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, “I am ascending
to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.” ’
Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, ‘I have seen
the Lord’; and she told them that he had said these things to her.
(John 20:1, 11-20)


Meditative Verse

Let the favour of God be upon us,
and prosper for us the work of our hands—
O prosper the work of our hands!
(Psalm 90:17)

A Reflection
Those of us who are Christians can also remember the example of
Someone who lived with a sense of meaning and purpose in the most
chaotic and oppressive time. We have only to recall that Jesus lived
with God as the point of his being. Again and again, he told his
disciples that he had come from God and was going to God. He knew
who he was, that his deepest identity lay in the mystery that he was
born of God. And he knew that he was for God, that he had come to
announce the great dream of God, the dream of the reign of God
and the great economy of grace. This was the meaning and purpose
of his life. It was his passion. His affirmation of the point of his life
was profoundly based on his gratitude for being born of God....
Jesus left us with this vision, a vision worthy enough to summon
every aspect of our being and the whole of our lives. Yet, this vision
is not a blueprint. It is not a detailed plan of what we are to do and
how we are to do it. It has been left to us to fill in the blanks, as it
were. The great dream of God for the world is not a concrete plan,
but it is compelling. It gives us a sense of how the story of the
world and of how our own story will end. It will end as it began -
in goodness. It makes all the difference in the world to believe
that the dream of God for the world is going to happen.
- from Radical Gratitude by Mary Jo Leddy

Verse for the Day

Let everything that breathes
praise God. Hallelujah!
(Psalm 150:6)

Image by Adam Bowie

“They have taken away my Lord and I do not know where they have laid him.” Mary’s words could be ours: they have taken away our Jesus and we don’t know where to find him. The garden tomb is empty. All that remains is the shroud, the linen cloths that were at his hands and feet. In this place of not knowing, hands gripping the spices she brought while walking rapidly through the darkened streets at dawn, Mary has arrived and found everything turned upside down. She has found the place where there is no longer death, but neither is there life. The darkness of the tomb with its holy ones who hover and speak reminds us of that precarious place where another Mary stood as her life was overturned by God and Gabriel. The precarious place between darkness and light is as significant now as it was when the Holy Spirit moved over the face of the deep and creation was separated into day and night. In this moment of uncertainty lies the mystery of faith. And when the light arrives, where are we? In a garden. And there is a gardener. At once the hands of Mary reach out to touch the one she knows. But Jesus tells her that she can no longer touch him directly with her hands. She will soon be using her hands differently. The hands of Mary will move from serving Jesus to serving neighbour, friend, stranger. The hands of the disciples will feed the poor and heal the sick and hold those in need. When she turns from him and runs to the others to tell them what he has said, it has begun. The great work of humanity, of bringing about the realm of God on earth is underway. How does your joy at this news feed your desire to serve? How will the resurrection of Jesus now live on in the work of your hands -- this Eastertide, and always?

This brings to an end the LC† Being God’s Hands devotional project. On behalf of Lutherans Connect and Lutheran Campus Ministry Toronto, thank you so much for your participation. Blessings on your Easter. See you at Pentecost!

LC† Being God's Hands is a project of
Lutherans Connect / Lutheran Campus Ministry Toronto
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