Devotion for January 21, 2021 from Pastor Barbara Caine of Holy Redeemer:
[Mary Magdelene] said to the [angels angel in the tomb], “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?” 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). John 20:13-16
I found myself glued to the inauguration yesterday morning. As I watched the pre-ceremony coverage I saw a young, very thin black girl with a bejeweled mask, a red headband, and a yellow coat, taking a selfie. I wondered aloud, “Who is that?” I thought she was the daughter of a politician or some other dignitary, brought along so that she could experience history in the making. Until she was introduced as our first National Youth Poet Laureate and stepped up to the podium, Amanda Gorman appeared to be as unimportant as the gardener did to Mary Magdalene outside the tomb on Easter morning. And then she spoke….
When day comes we ask ourselves
where can we find light in this never-ending shade?
The loss we carry, a sea we must wade.
We’ve braved the belly of the beast.
We’ve learned that quiet isn’t always peace.
In the norms and notions of what just is
isn’t always justice….
….When day comes, we step out of the shade, aflame and unafraid.
The new dawn blooms as we free it.
For there is always light,
if only we’re brave enough to see it.
If only we’re brave enough to be it.
In an instant, her words transported all who listened. This was no ordinary girl. This young woman was as powerful in her words as she was slight of body. She spoke and hope took flight. A gift from God for a wounded nation. Her faith shined through.
I have no doubt that this is what happened for Mary in front of the tomb on Easter morning. Her mentor, her teacher, had been killed and the world was dark and bleak and she just wanted to bury the body, and to mourn her loss. Any hope she had due to Jesus’ transforming power in her life was ground into dust. In her grief, she did not notice that the gardener was, in fact, the embodiment of hope, the essence of love, and then Jesus spoke. Just as in the beginning, the Word brought light and hope and strength and courage, our God of love will continue to move us forward to the world God is calling into being, “if only we’re brave enough to be it.”