The dreadful sounds, the frightening sights, the horrific aftermath… these were all pieces of our recent experience of the tornado. It came virtually unexpectedly. It ripped, shredded, toppled, altered what it encountered, and moved on. Residents and business owners stood in its wake and wondered how to cobble their lives back together again.
In many respects, this recent meteorological occurrence echoes the life-shattering experience of Jesus’ crucifixion. The dreadful sounds, the frightening sights, the horrific aftermath… and, for his followers, the wondering about the mending of their lives without him. With hearts and hopes ripped and shredded, their grief and fear were surely unbearable, paralyzing. The Scriptures tell us they did what we humans often do when something alters our lives: go back to the past.
Fishing. That’s what the fishermen believed they could still do. Their arms would remember how to cast, their hands how to mend. They would put the pieces of their lives back in their boats and fish again for a way forward, hauling the past into the present.
But God moves in the opposite direction. Jesus’ resurrection is the pivotal sign of all that God intends thrust into the thick murkiness of all that yet remains. According to John’s Gospel, Mary sees the risen Christ but mistakes him for the gardener. When she realizes it is Jesus, she calls him by a title she used in the past: “Teacher.” In her sermon on this text, Barbara Brown Taylor says, “Maybe he could hear it in her voice, how she wanted him back the way he was so they could go back to the way they were, back to the old life where everything was familiar and not frightening like it was now. ‘Rabbouni!’ she called him, but that was his Friday name, and here it was Sunday – an entirely new day in an entirely new life.”
Jesus’ resurrection alters our history and our future because it inaugurates an entirely new life. Yes, the murkiness remains, but we know it doesn’t define who we are or what the world is yet to be. God stripped Jesus of his Friday name as he arose on that entirely new day, crowning him now and forever “Lord”! As he cobbles his life in us, we catch on: “no turning back, no turning back,” praise Go