From: Anna von Reit of Big Lake, Alaska
I awoke this morning, Easter Sunday, to the sound of rain on the roof.
This can only be understood as something odd and unbelievable, when you consider that I live in Alaska and it has been many months of nothing but snow here, and no warning was given in the weather reports of any change. When I went to bed, the same high snowy berms were firmly in place, the sky overcast but quiet, and it was far too cold to rain.
Yet, this morning as soon as I woke up, I could hear the rain drumming on the roof. I heard it, but I didn’t quite believe it. I had to get up and open the door and actually see and hear it more clearly to be sure. And yes, I wasn’t imagining it. We are having a downpour.
Spring has come like a thief in the night.
That sense of incredulity stuck with me as I read the four Gospel accounts of the women as they found the empty tomb very early on the first day of the week.
The Gospel accounts of how people became aware of the Resurrection vary considerably, but they all agree that it all began very early on the first day of the week. And they all agree that Mary Magdalene was there. They all agree that at first, people didn’t recognize their beloved Teacher.
In three of the Gospels, Mary Magdalene comes to the grave with Mary, the mother of James and Joses, and other women who had followed him from Galilee, to finish anointing Yahushuah’s body for burial. They found the empty tomb.
In the Gospel of John, Mary Magdalene comes alone and finds the empty tomb, but is only confused by this; no helpful angels are there to give her the news and she weeps bitterly, thinking as we all would, that someone has taken his body somewhere.
Then he appears to her and asks her why she is weeping, but she mistakes him for the gardener, and doesn’t know him until he calls her name, “Mary!”
Then she knew his voice, despite his altered appearance.
This same situation applies to us. We are told that we will know him by his voice. As God the Father spoke the Creation into being, so the Resurrection begins with Yahushuah speaking to us. And we will know it’s him, as a sheep knows its shepherd, by his voice.
My Father died young; emphysema took him slowly, a tiny bit at a time over the course of fifteen years. We all had to live knowing that he was dying, but never being sure of the details — exactly how and exactly when.
We are all dying as we live, and living as we die. With or without emphysema.
I saw my Father a couple of times in dreams after his death, and it was the same way as the Bible describes what happened with Mary Magdalene and the Disciples. I didn’t immediately recognize my own Father.
He had been changed. There were things about him that were familiar and I somehow knew it was him, but the similarity was like the similarity between brothers, and he was younger than I remembered him.
Like rain on the roof. Like a thief in the night. When we don’t expect anything to be different than what we’ve known before, everything is changed. The spring comes. The resurrection sweeps over us. A mysterious feeling of bliss and profound peace comes and makes its home with us.
And I stay still in the pre-dawn dark, listening to the rain on the roof, and I think of the words of John 3:13, about being born of the flesh and born of the spirit. I take another deep breath. I count my blessings. I welcome the glad spirit within me. No, I don’t understand it all, and I don’t pretend to. I only share my own small epiphany.
Someday, he’ll call my name. Somehow, I will know his voice, and I will know it’s my true name. And I will answer, “Here I am, Lord.” and he will know that I am willing to go where he sends me, to do what he bids me, now and forevermore.