Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Shutting Out the Sun

"...The sun of justice will arise with healing in its wings," promised the prophet Malachi (Mal 3:20, RNAB).  Perhaps the evangelist Mark had this promise in mind when he wrote that on "the first day of the week" (our Sunday), three of Jesus' faithful women followers went to the tomb to carry out some of the burial rites that couldn't be performed on the day he died for want of daylight.  They arrived "very early when the sun had risen" (Mark 16:2)--and discovered that their beloved rabbi, the light of the world, had indeed risen from the tomb.

This week, those lines make me chuckle.  Our monastery is amply lit by clear glass windows that look out onto our high country valley and its bordering hills.  Very early in the morning this Easter week, one of the nuns faithfully closes the blinds on the east side of the chapel to shut out the rising sun, lest it blind the nuns seated on the west side.

The sun has the last word, though.  After all the blinds are firmly closed, there remains one spot where the newly risen sun shines through, bathing at least a few of our choir stalls in the glorious first light of this Easter day.  So much for shutting out the sun!

And so it was at the first Easter.  The authorities who had put Jesus to death made every effort to prevent any rumors of resurrection from spreading.  They denied that any such thing had happened, accused the disciples of stealing Jesus' body,

and bribed the guards to back of their story.  It didn't work.  Jesus, the risen light of the world, kept appearing here and there to his discouraged and baffled followers, healing their misery by transforming it into joy.  He lives!  The word went out quickly after the Spirit descending at Pentecost essentially blew Jesus' followers out into the street to spread the good news, which lots of people believed and welcomed.  Crowds were baptized, Luke says in the Acts of the Apostles.  So much for shutting out the sun!

And it still happens.  No matter how dark the world sometimes gets, no matter how firmly disbelievers of various kinds try to bury word of the resurrection--and Jesus with it--back in some sealed tomb, the news still gets out and new disciples are added to the centuries' long accumulation of Christians that stretches back to those first believers.  And wandering disciples are brought back into the Easter light, and discouraged disciples find new heart in the same words spoken at the first tomb:  "He is not here.  He is risen."  To which we add, alleluia!

So much for shutting out the Sun of justice, risen for us too with healing in his wings!  Even when the blinds are closed!

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