Summary: An invitation to reclaim the magic of the resurrection.
You may remember not to long ago, when Bob drew our attention to episodes in our life that we remember with the words:
“I’ll never forget when..”
Such times are incidences that stick with us throughout our life and are often life changing events.
Well, here we go...
I’ll never forget when, on a family trip to the beach in Galveston, when it was still possible and safe to actually camp on the beach, my grandmother and mother held a sea shell up to my ear so that I could hear the ocean inside. I remember cupping my other ear, because I was sure I was really only hearing the waves crashing on the shore.
I wouldn’t call it a life changing experience, but it was an introduction to mysteries that exist within our world.
Many times after returning home, I would pick up the shell and put it to my ear again, to see if the ocean was still in there, or had it dried all away being removed from the ocean for so long.
Yes, I was young - only 4 or 5 or so, and yes you can explain it away to me today scientifically, but there is magic in that sea shell and every shell that holds the ocean inside of it.
Over the years of my childhood, I have grown to love the magic of this world. Trees go to sleep in the winter, and grow new leaves in the spring. How do they know to do that?
Flowers, with some illusive knowledge, know when and how to grow from seeds.
Caterpillars withdraw into a cocoon, and emerge as a butterfly.
Babies, started from the meeting of two individual cells, know just how to divide into the individual parts and organs that make up a human body. At a specific point in development , a heart beat begins in a still developing heart - how does it know to begin And who knows what the signal is, but at a certain appointed time, labor begins, and a baby emerges into the world.
Science can tell you how they happen, but for me, they are magic.
What brought about these things to be the way they are? What made the world to operate as it does? What determined the basic building blocks of life in our universe?
I know it can be explained. But you can save your scientific jargon. I know there are known processes and theories, but any and every attempt to explain them is incomplete. They fall flat. They cannot explain the mysterious, magical part of what happens in any of those things. Perhaps because they fail to explain the purpose of the phenomena in the first place, explanation and fact are only half the story and never really account for all that we experience.
You may tell me the physical, scientific reason for the sound I hear in the sea shell, but the ocean in still in there, just the same.
And there is comfort in the magic, because I know that although life may not, will not always be magical, the magic still exists.
Our Bible lesson finds us at the grave side of Jesus. It is early on Sunday morning. Jesus had been laid to rest on Friday afternoon. Saturday was the Sabbath, and so it was not until this morning that the women who had followed Jesus and who also had prepared the necessary spices and ointments to embalm him, were able to return to the tomb, in order to prepare his body.
Imagine their surprise to find the tomb open. Imagine their reaction to find his body was not there.
Imagine their response to the two men standing by the tomb. ‘Why look for the living where the dead are laid?’ they say.
‘Remember his teaching back in Galilee?’
The women do remember his teaching.
Jesus would suffer at the hands of sinful men, be crucified, and on the third day, he would rise again.
I find their almost instantaneous belief interesting. Do you think they saw the magic in the resurrection? Did they ask or wonder how it could be? Did they stop to puzzle the impossibilities?
No, they just rejoiced in the magical moment. They ran back to tell the disciples and everyone else what had happened.
It is there that they meet with skepticism and question. It is impossible and unexplainable. It simply cannot be.
The disciples called it a tale of nonsense, and so they didn’t believe it.
It is the condition of our world at large. So many people refuse to believe what is not tangible, what cannot be explained. For so many years, our ability to reason anything out has been so emphasized, that we have no trust of anything without a reasonable, logical, scientific explanation. This is compounded by reason’s failure to explain everything for us. Logic and education has let us down. The mystery still remains. It is not logical. The resurrection cannot be explained.