Read John 20; Mark 16
“Who will roll the stone away?” (Mark 16:3)
In the beginning there is nothing but beauty, harmony, and deep intimacy between humankind and God. It is fitting that it all begins in a garden. Life, the story of humankind, begins in a garden. Gardens are where things grow, where things flourish, for beauty and for glory. And then the story takes a turn for the worst. And consequently, the garden has become elusive. I think all of humankind is trying to get back to the garden. I know I am. But I often find myself in cemeteries.
When I did not know Christ, I had no idea that I was void and without form. Empty. And dead. Being made alive in Christ means being shaped in the image of Christ and filled with the Holy Spirit for the glory of the Father who is in heaven. But being made alive in Christ has not exempted me from dead places. I still find myself in cemeteries.
In the opening scene of Mark 16:1, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome choose to enter a cemetery to anoint Jesus’ dead body. They are entering a dead space intending to serve the Lord. And they ask the question, “Who will roll the stone away?” I so desire to be like those women, who not forsaking their grief, entered dead space with the intent to bring glory to God. Many of us are so intent to get back to the garden that we fail to realize we have graciously been given new life. And it is because of this new life that we serve the Lord and bring glory to God when we enter spaces filled with dead people, by living a life that smells of the Gospel.
I have a younger brother. He is not a believer. And it grieves my soul because he does not know that he is void and without form. He is dead, and the life he lives is a tomb. I know that God has the power to roll the stone away, to open his tomb, and to make dry bones live. I live in the tension of longing for the garden and realizing that God has not placed me there. I exist in a time and space where I am not trying to get back to the garden; I am trying to meet God at the entrance of the tomb that is my brother’s soul. If God has you in dead spaces, it is because there are dead people who need to hear, see, feel, touch, and taste the goodness that is the Gospel of Christ.