Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot. They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?”
“They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.
He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”
Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”
Jesus said to her, “Mary.”
She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”). Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”
Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.
John 20: 10-18
He is risen!
Tomorrow we will celebrate the greatest miracle of all at a Methodist church here in Zambia.
I feel like I’ve been at church all week long.
I always feel melancholy on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday, thinking about the suffering Jesus had to go through. I know it was part of the plan and that God was in charge at all times, but I hate to think of Jesus weeping in the garden and asking God, if maybe, there wasn’t another way to do this?
And though I did think about the days before the Jesus’ resurrection this week (with Jane’s help who kept me straight on what day it was), it was easier to remember the big picture, being in Zambia.
God has a plan. He always has.
Jesus was the sacrifice to atone for our sins. The lamb on the altar.
But I think that’s only one part of God’s miracle for us.
God sent Jesus to teach us, to be an example of loving everyone – sinners, lepers, tax collectors, people of different cultures, people of different colors, people that are hard to love, orphans half-way across the globe in a teeny-tiny village in Zambia.
I think it’s significant that when Jesus began his ministry, he didn’t go into fancy temples or spend a lot of time with the pharisees or rabbis. He hung out with the poor, the sick and the doubters. The people that needed him most.
This week, I wondered how long God had planned for Jackie and Mickey to end up here in Zambia.
Did he always know Jane and Gerald would end up together, here in Zambia, putting a school together this week?
Has God always known I would spend two weeks with Peggy Perry, soaking up her wisdom and generous spirit? Being loved on by these beautiful children?
God has a plan. He always has and always will.
I don’t know exactly what the plans are, but I take great comfort in knowing God knows. Being in Zambia and seeing the miracle of Agape Village underscores the point that we are not in charge of things. God is. And if we love God with all our heart and love our neighbors as ourselves, the plan unfolds.
Mickey likes to say, “You have to just be in neutral and see where God wants you to go.” Jackie is always quick to tell people “This was God’s plan for Agape Village, we just had to be obedient and bring it to life.”
Mickey and Jackie were so sure of God’s plan, they didn’t let a little thing like the Zambian bush or 24 hour plane rides or having no land and no building stop them from finding a way to take care of the children, now safe, loved and sleeping soundly in bunk beds tonight at Agape Village. Now, that doesn’t mean they didn’t have doubts and questions. But they didn’t let those stop them. They knew God had a plan.
It’s Saturday night here. Tomorrow we will rejoice that Jesus has risen and his Holy Spirit is with us always. May we always remember the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus was God’s plan to illustrate to us the depth of his love for us, and his hope that we would accept his love and gift, and pass it on to others.