“But on the ﬁrst day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb, taking the spices that they had prepared. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in, they did not ﬁnd the body. While they were perplexed about this, suddenly two men in dazzling clothes stood beside them. The women were terriﬁed and bowed their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen.” – Luke 24:1-5
Dear Flock of the Shepherd of the Valley,
“Why do you look for the living among the dead?” This question has been rattling around in my head since I began thinking about what to write for this April news-letter. It’s not from the version of the resurrection story that we will hear this Easter but it is nagging at me nonetheless. I’m writing this on the second day of spring. During this time, it’s easy to start seeing signs of life in the tips of bulbs pushing through the ground and even snow, buds emerging on tree branches and the varied songs of birds. We can look for the living among the dead.
Yet, in this case, it turns out this question sets up a pronouncement. The angels ask this question of the women who turn out to be the first to learn of Jesus’ resurrec-tion. At first it may sound like they are simply in the wrong place. But really it’s a pronouncement that they are looking for the wrong thing! The women set out look-ing for the dead body of Jesus only to learn that they will not find what they are look-ing for. The angels tell them that they are actually looking for the living!
I wonder how often we are looking for the wrong thing when we just think we are looking for something in the wrong place. In some instances, we might be looking for a desired outcome in prayer and it turns out that we were looking for the wrong thing. I can think of examples of how we look for things in life – a partner, a job, a home, a school – that we think will paint a picture of how we think life should look. When we are not able to find these things – or if we are, and life is still not what we imagined it might be – perhaps we are looking for the wrong thing. The women went to the tomb looking for the dead, only to learn that they could be looking for the living!
As we transition from the Lenten season – a time to use particular practices to draw our hearts closer to God – into Eastertide – a celebration of joy over God conquering death – let’s spend some time considering what we are looking for. If we can’t find what we are looking for, are we looking for the wrong thing? Who are the possibly frightening messengers in our midst who are offering us guidance in our search? What have we thought was dead but is now alive?
Looking forward to looking for the living Christ together,