Christ is Risen! Alleluia!

One of my favorite moments in Luke's version (Luke 24:1-12) of the empty tomb is the interaction between the women and the two men. The women, who just witnessed Jesus' death, were visiting the tomb to perform a burial ritual. They expected to walk to the tomb and find it exactly as it was left. However, once they get there, the tomb was already open. The women, confused, peaked in and nothing was there. Suddenly two men in dazzling clothes (aka angels) appeared. The women, shocked and terrified, recognized these men to be divine so they bowed down, shielding their eyes and faces. We could (and maybe should) read the words the two men spoke to the women as meant to be reassuring and comforting. But I also like to imagine these divine messengers being a bit shocked by the women's reaction. These women were the most faithful followers of Jesus. They stayed when every one else fled and made plans to tend to him after he was dead. The women knew Jesus, followed Jesus, and loved Jesus. And even when they didn't know what God was up to. So the divine messengers invited them to remember. As Jesus' most faithful disciples, they should have expected the unexpected Yet in their shock and grief, their expectations got the better of them.

If we're honest about our faith, there are times when we struggle to see what God is up to. We don't always see Jesus clearly, nor do we always know exactly how faith should make a difference in our lives. It doesn't really matter how often we attend church or how often we pray; it's normal to have a moment when we feel as if God has left us alone. This kind of experience doesn't match up with expectations we have for our lives or the expectations we have for God. Yet, it's maybe at those moments when we should remember the words the two men shared in Jesus' tomb 2000 years ago. When we are trapped by our dead-end expectations, we're invited to remember that our Savior is alive. Our limitations are not how God defines us nor are our expectations the limit of what God has in mind. When the women went to the tomb, their mission was to bury Jesus properly. But after they were met by the empty tomb, they suddenly became brand new. The women were the first to proclaim the resurrection, the first to proclaim that Jesus was raised, and the first to say that God was undoing our expectations. They became, in that moment, the first Christians. We don't always know what Jesus is doing in our life. But we can trust that Jesus is alive - and that he will, in the end, always carry us through.