One of the scriptures in the Lectionary readings for this coming Easter Sunday is John 20:1-18. In this passage Mary Magdalene has returned to the tomb of the crucified Jesus and finds the stone that was blocking the entrance rolled away and the tomb is empty, except for the strips of cloth that Jesus’ body had been wrapped in. Mary runs and tells the disciples and a number of them return to the tomb to investigate. Those disciples confirm what Mary reported and then the scriptures tell us that they went back to wherever they were staying. Mary, on the other hand, lingers at the tomb. From the scriptures we know that Mary is struck with grief, possibly to the point of being unable to leave even if she wanted to. As Mary sits in her grief an amazing event occurs! Mary is visited by two angels and then by the Risen Christ himself! What follows is kind of an odd conversation, but let’s be honest, any face to face conversation with Christ is going to be a little out of the ordinary.
One of the things that really strikes me about this passage is the fact that the other disciples who were present at the tomb just a short while before, missed Christ completely. It seems like they were in quite a hurry, the passage states that they literally ran on their way to the tomb and it does not sound like they stuck around very long before they went back to what they were doing. It is really too bad that they missed the opportunity that Mary Magdalene had. It also makes me wonder how often we miss something significant because we fail to linger just a little longer.
One of the reasons many of our guests at Moon Beach and Pilgrim Center value their time at our sites is because it gives them an opportunity to linger just a little longer. Whether you are a grandparent attending camp with a grandchild, or one of our counselors who spends some down time out on the lake in a kayak, our sites allow folks to sit back, take a deep breathe, and really observe what is in front of them. Sometimes it is the extra-ordinary sitting in the middle of the ordinary, like some of the migratory birds that are passing through this time of year, but from time to time someone spots something really special. Maybe, just maybe, even the Risen Christ lingering alongside.