Tuesday, April 10, 2012

“Partly Prepared” by Aaron Colston, ‘14

 Easter Sunrise
4/8/12, Dartmouth College Green
Text: Mark 16: 1-8

When the women came to the tomb to anoint the body of Christ, it dawned on them that they were partly prepared. They have brought the anointing oils and spices but have forgotten the stone that must be rolled away. Yet the women don’t turn around and end their journey toward Christ; despite their lacking, they go on.
Just as the women lacked the preparation to roll the stone away, we too, lack. We lack rest, time with our friends and families, time to study. When we feel we should have one we lack the right answer to a good question, and more often than not, we lack a kind word. We lack the will to trust, and--when we need to most--the will to love our neighbor. But the women teach us, as they carry little else but their oils and spices, that just because we know we lack doesn’t mean we should stop where we are. If anything, it is a calling from the other side to keep going.
We may think that giving the little we have--whether time, word, or love--is giving  the  “partly prepared.” But look at what happens when the women came to the tomb “partly prepared”: the stone is rolled away, they learn that Christ is risen. It is as if someone tossed their voice into the canyon and the canyon bellowed back, or as if someone has planted that mustard seed, and it has burst into a full tree; in light of what happens in return, giving little is hardly “little” after all.
Not to say that, despite the possible returns, we won’t be tempted to stop our own searching in life. “But why give in,” the women of the first Easter ask us, “when lacking is not where the search ends, but where it begins? When, of all places, it is in our lacking where Christ is found?”
All of this from bringing oils and spices. The act of kindness of the women, though small, is returned by an encounter with the Truth of the risen Christ; they may not have prepared for to roll the stone away themselves.  They have seen Christ beaten and mocked; they watched him perish on the Cross; what use is there in going on? In the war in good and evil, light and dark, it is plain to everyone that darkness has won. Yet these women, carrying their oils and spices to the tomb, set themselves apart from everyone.
When it seems that the darkness has won, the hearts of these women called out, even if they were unsure whether anyone would call back. They are carrying with them a little seed of hope that Christ, would rise after his death after all. When they discover that the stone is rolled away and the angel tells them that Christ is risen, it is as if the shout in the canyon gets a booming cry in response; as if the seed, once planted has shot up into a full-grown, fully aged oak tree. The immense contrast between the Cross and the Resurrection, the then and the now was so extreme that it astonished them.

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