My Favorite Angel: Easter Reflections on Matthew 28:1-10
Is it because when we look to the past we see that life has dashed our high hopes? Things didn't turn out like we hoped? Circumstances went against us? Other people disappointed or hurt us?
- "You're breaking up with me now? And through a text?"
- "I thought I was in line for that position."
- "I've watched my diet and exercised three times a week. What do you mean I have cancer?"
- "There were no signs that she was depressed. She baked a cake this morning."
- "Shouldn't there be a heartbeat at twelve weeks?"
Why is it that we only hear the first half of Jesus' prediction: "The Son of Man will suffer and be killed..." but forget what comes next? Why do we come to so many situations alert to signs of death, disappointment, and defeat, when we have been promised life and hope and victory is waiting there?
Is it because, when we look to the future, with what we know of life, we know that difficult situations lie ahead?
I was invited to the "Two by Two" Sunday School class at a large church in Dallas some time ago. They wanted me to teach a session on the parables. I deduced that this was a couple's class of mature adults. As instructed, I arrived at 9:20, came in the side entrance, went up the stairs and turned right. A lady named Alice greeted me and called over another lady whose name was also Alice and we compared notes about being Alices for a while. Looking around I noticed there were a lot more women than men. There was another lady standing to the side with a sort of pensive look on her face. I greeted her and she brightened up a bit. "When was this class founded?" I asked. "My husband and I joined the class in 1955. He died last year. The group has been together for years. But now all of us are old and a lot of us are dead." Then, realizing how that sounded, she smiled brightly and added, "And we're so glad to have you join us this morning!"
"We're all old and a lot of us are dead."
Whatever age you are, are you willing to sign for the Good News that Jesus rose—not just died—in the face of the losses that come with increasing age?
Answer the door. It's an angel at your door with a delivery.
"Don't be afraid. He has been raised from the dead and is going ahead of you to Galilee. There you will see him. This is my message for you." Sign here.
The angel's work is done. And now yours begins. Will you sign for the good news, unwrap it, and live by it?
Will you sign for the good news that your future is a series of situations, whether garden bowers or graveyards, where Christ awaits you to meet defeat with victory, to meet disappointment with hope, to meet death with life?
He is not here. He has been raised. Come and see the places where he lay.
Alyce M. McKenzie is the George W. and Nell Ayers Le Van Professor of Preaching and Worship at Perkins School of Theology, Southern Methodist University.