"I have seen the Lord!" Mary Magdalene proclaims to the disciples after the risen Jesus appeared to her at the empty tomb. It took her a while to recognize him, probably distracted in her grief and tears, but she heard his recognized voice in the encounter and experienced the resurrected Christ. Luke's version gives us a little different perspective than John's account above, but both emphasize that after the encounter with the risen Christ that those witnessing the resurrection are to go and tell others. This sharing of the story is stewardship of the Gospel, not holding it for oneself but giving it to the world. This is even more poignant in the wake of the events in Brussels, Belgium this week.
The Easter moment comes for all of us who know Christ. These moments are not always the same for all of us as is illustrated in John's Easter morning account, but I believe nonetheless they happen to us all. Although we may not always recognize the risen Christ's presence in our midst because we are distracted by many things in our lives. I believe there are a couple of critical stewardship points here for those of us who are baptized. One is that we are to be expectant of seeing the resurrected Christ in our midst. Another is that we often are out of practice of reflecting on where we experience the risen Christ in our lives and then telling others about how and where we have encountered him. I find that we most often encounter the risen Lord in the midst of ministry. And for those of us who are baptized, isn't that every moment of our lives whether we are at church, at work, at home, at the market, or at play? How often are we like Peter and the other disciple experiencing the resurrection in some form or another, but then simply returning home without sharing the story of our experience?
The resurrection continues today. If we faithfully expect to see him, we are more attentive to experiencing the risen Christ in our midst. The risen Christ appears to us in grocery stores, on sidewalks, at water coolers, in schools, at soup kitchens, in the breaking of the bread and anywhere we encounter others. In essence the world is the Empty Tomb open and ready for us to experience the resurrected Lord. Our shared stories of encounters with the resurrected Christ, however and whenever we "see the Lord," are good stewardship of the Gospel for a world in need of good news. Sharing these stories heightens our awareness, encourages us to reflect more deeply on Christ's presence among us, and celebrates the experience with the world.
Where are you expecting to experience the risen Christ in your life? Where are you least expecting to see him? Shouldn't that be where you are more attentive to encountering him?
To whom will you proclaim this Easter season,
"I have seen the Lord!"?
Grace to you,
The Rev. Canon Lance Ousley
Canon for Stewardship and Development
The Episcopal Diocese of Olympia