Good morning, Mini-Women. You are such a great group and we seem to be growing with new voices and old ones who've come back to us. So a large number of us huddle on the third day afer Jesus' death, when we've discovered that the tomb is empty and his body is gone.
Some of us are in the secret hiding place, fearful and confused. Others are still outside the open tomb where we cry and wonder why things keep getting worse and worse.
One of us can't stand it any more. She gets on her knees and looks into the tomb. It's a scary thing to do but maybe she'll see that we were wrong before, that his body is still there and we can give him a proper burial.
But what she sees makes her gasp so loud the rest of us crowd behind to look, and we gasp too ...
Because inside the tomb two angels in white are sitting, one where Jesus' head had lain and one where his feet were. Angels? Could we all be going crazy with grief at the same time?
Uh, no, because they speak to us. "Why do you weep?" they say.
Some of us are totally speechless, but one of us just can't hold it in any longer. "They took our Master," she says, "And we don't know where they've put him."
Really, this is more than any of us can handle and we turn away from the angels and the achingly empty place where our Lord was supposed to be at rest. Just outside the tomb, a man stands in the morning mist. We can't see him clearly because the sun is only just starting to come up over the trees.
He also whispers, "Why are you crying?" And then he adds, "Who are you looking for?"
For Pete's sake, doesn't anybody get it? Even the gardener is asking us the same questions.
"Look, mister," one of us says, "if you took our Lord's body just tell us where you put it and we'll be out of your way."
"Yeah," some of us say. "Just tell us."
He opens his mouth to speak, but we don't get directions. Instead, we each hear our name, spoken at the exact same time, as if each of us is the only one he sees.
He is calling us individually by name. And the voice ... it belongs to Jesus.
"Teacher!" we cry. We can't help ourselves as we rush forward to be in his arms, to hug him, to know his love again. But he shakes his head and we stop.
"Not yet," he says. "I have to ascend to the Father first." His face is as kind as ever, and yet it's different now too. It looks like ... well, it looks like heaven.
"Go tell the others," he says. "And all of you meet me in Galilee. Then I'll explain everything to you."
Before we can say another word he's gone. Some of us cry all over again. Others can't stop talking, asking questions, trying to figure this out. Still others fall silent, not able to put what they feel into words.
Out of the confusion, one of us says, "Um, you guys, he said to go tell the others. We have to do that so we can get back to Galilee."
Right. Of course. Doing what Jesus tells us to do has never failed us.
And so we go back to the secret hiding place and we tell the rest of the group what we've seen. Together we talk about the things we'll write about later in our Talking To God Journals.
* Why didn't we recognize Jesus at first?
* Why did he say he had to ascend to the Father?
* How could he just appear and disappear like that?
* Can we believe in him when we can't see him?
They are hard questions, but not so hard that we lose hope. On Friday we'll go to Galilee. What else can we do?
I'll be here to go with you .