He is not here; He is risen!
With these words the angel--or was it the gardener?--greeted Mary of Magdala at the tomb of Jesus on Easter Sunday morning. Unbelieving at first, then astonished, blissful, joyful to see Him again, Mary was the chosen follower to hear the Good News. Having stood by the cross in despair on Good Friday, she lived with the void in the tomb for three days, and learned of His rising first on Easter Sunday.
As Jesus went into the wilderness during forty days before Easter, we at Earth Ministry joined the wilderness experience by taking a little less and giving a little more during this time. I gave up cows, and my great learning was that I don’t need nearly the surfeit I think I need. I don’t need beef or cheese and while I love cream in my coffee, I certainly don’t need it. (Whether or not I need coffee is another question entirely).
Really, what do we all need? Besides the absolute physical necessities, I believe we need intimacy: intimacy with ourselves, intimacy with others, and intimacy with God and Creation. Lent was for me a time of paring away what I am attached to (as the Buddhists say) and claiming what really matters to me. What matters to me is meaningful work, peaceful solitude, the good companionship of the boys at the dinner table. Giving up cows called to my attention the many little joys I do have and the excesses distracting me from them. Lent brought me more intimacy and less saturated fat. For this I am grateful.
And like Mary Magdalene at the tomb I am grateful for the Good News, for hope after tragedy, joy after despair, renewal after death. It’s all there in this good story.