John 20:1-18 (NIV)
The Empty Tomb
“Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”
So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent over and looked at the strips for linen lying there but did not go in. Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate for the linen. Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.) Then the disciples went back to where they were staying.
Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalene
Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept she bent over to look into the tomb and saw tow angel in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.
They asked her, “Woman why are you crying?”
“They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she didn’t realize that it was Jesus.
He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”
Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”
Jesus said to her, “Mary”.
She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”).
Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, “I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.”
Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.”
The Easter message is always dear to my heart and always look forward to it. This message felt like it had my name on it. As one who wears hearing aids, the sense of hearing is slowly leaving me. This has been a source of frustration for me and those around me. I miss so much. Crowded rooms, lively discussions with laughter, all escape me. I make mistakes that others laugh at when I don’t “get” the topic of conversations. And if I ask, I am often told, “Oh, it’s nothing!” and left farther away. There is a whole list of reactions others do without thinking really, that weighs heavy on my heart. Like not facing me when they speak. Or whispering. I have even been the brunt of some who “pretend” to use fake sign-language when trying to repeat something to me. One of the questions Pastor Greg put in the bulletin was, “How often do you feel challenged in communicating with others?” Oh Pastor, every day!
When my granddaughter Macie (then 4) was trying to say something to me, she put her little hands on my cheeks, turned my head and said, “Grandma, listen to me!” Sometimes, I feel like God may be telling us the same thing!” Are you listening, Fran? Are you listening with your whole heart? Is there someone in your life that’s not being heard? Answering God’s messages to us are often overlooked. Psalm 46:10 tells us “Be still and know that I am God”
But the message Pastor Greg was conveying was from the opposite perspective. Are there those around us who are not being heard? Are we “too busy” to bother with what they have to say? Some say nothing but the looks on their faces speak volumes. I am a firm believer that the Lord puts us in spots He needs us to be. It’s not just missionaries that are “sent”. He puts “people” where he needs them and weighs our hearts with desires to help if we will just “Listen”. How often do we seem to find ourselves confronted with a situation where the other person may start a conversation with us. Some instances it seems like fate intervenes. In line at the store, on an airplane, in an elevator.
I miss my dad a lot. Daddy spoke with a Puerto Rican accent which is very different from other Spanish accents. It’s slower, to me, endearing. A woman got into my car the other day(UBER) and immediately told me she was from Puerto Rico but lived in Florida now. The sound and timbre of her voice calmed me immediately. She had recently lost her father in an accident that paralyzed him and robbed him of speech. She mentioned his active life with loads of friends (again, like my dad) and knew he would not have been happy not being able to communicate and he had died from cardiac arrest (in daddy’s case it was dementia and dialysis) We found out both our dads were in the National Guard and both were even aircraft maintenance officers! What were the odds? When she got out at the airport we hugged for a while through tears and prayed for comfort and peace.
Dear Father, restore in me a listening heart daily and send me where you need me to be. Let Christ be seen in me today, please. Amen.
Written by Fran Baatz
Fran is happily married with two daughters, and four grandchildren and one great-grand daughter! She was an army brat growing up (which means she moved a bit) and her parents (Francis and Orpha Jimenez) were charter members of Sheridan Lutheran Church. She was also the first girl baptized in the church in 1953, so she has been at Sheridan a long time.