Hi friends and welcome to the Arise, Beloved blog. We have an amazing team of writers behind this blog and our desire is to speak truth into the lies that cripple us and shine light into the darkness that isolates us because we believe that now, more than ever, the Church desperately needs women to be restored so that the world can be set ablaze. Our hope is that you find comfort, solace, and peace in knowing that you are not alone, you are not too far gone and there is ALWAYS hope to be found.
// Shelby Hawks //
Now on the first day of the week Mary Magdalene came to the tomb early, while it was still dark, and saw that the stone had been taken away from the tomb. So she ran, and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” Peter then came out with the other disciple, and they went toward the tomb. They both ran, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first; and stooping to look in, he saw the linen cloths lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb; he saw the linen cloths lying, and the napkin, which had been on his head, not lying with the linen cloths but rolled up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not know the scripture, that he must rise from the dead. Then the disciples went back to their homes.
[John 20:1-10 RSV]
It’s resurrection season, sisters. The stone is rolled away, the tomb is empty, and Jesus is risen—it changes everything for us. And yet, I still feel a layer of sorrow, a haze of disappointment, a fog of sadness that is resting atop my heart and preventing me from rejoicing with the whole of my soul.
Jesus knows this, and as I meditated on the gospel on Easter morning, my heart was pierced by five unusual words: “while it was still dark”. While it was still dark. Sisters, Jesus rose from the dead while it was still dark. This gives me abundant hope. This gives me consoling joy. This fills me with enduring peace. Because if Jesus can rise from the dead and conquer death, sin, darkness, brokenness, misery, and the whole of our fallen nature in the middle of darkness, then I choose to believe He can bring resurrection to this time, in this place, while it is indeed still very dark.
Our Easter seasons don’t look like how we thought or even how they should: they’re isolated, empty, separated, homebound. But the great truth is this: His resurrection power is not. His resurrection power is full, vibrant, verdant, fruitful, abundant, new, expansive. Sisters, we have to trust this is true and allow this resurrection power to well up and overflow within us so we can live it in the midst of this broken and aching world—a world that is groaning to receive her King again and in need of new faith.
In Romans 8, Paul writes that all of creation is groaning in labor pains, yawning to receive the freedom from corruption that is promised to us through the Blood of Christ. He speaks of the ache in the human soul, that we ourselves are groaning, awaiting the redemption of our bodies. Sisters, I believe we are experiencing this ache, this groaning, this urgent longing now more than ever. And what a gift, that the Risen Lord is opening up a new space of longing in our hearts, opening up a place that was formerly a wasteland. He is rolling away the stone that has held captive the longing for heaven given to us in the garden. He is resurrecting a dormant ache and allowing our hearts to wrestle with the desire for sanctity. He is calling out: Awake, O Sleeper!
We must not waste it. We must not let ourselves give in to the darkness and despair of our time. We must hold fast to the truth that Jesus is risen, that He rose while it was still dark and brought glorious light, and that He is indeed Lord of all things. As I wrote in a previous post, He has ordained all things. Let us trust Him. Let us jump in with both feet, into a space we have never been before. Let us give our Risen Lord the room to move within us as He brings sight to the blind; the freedom to bring to life and awaken new desires as He sets the oppressed free; the permission to strengthen what is weak as He heals the brokenhearted; and the faith to cast out what does not belong as He proclaims liberty to the captives.
As Gerard Manley Hopkins says in his poem, “Let Him Easter in us, be a dayspring to the dimness of us.” Let Him resurrect in us. Let Him live in us—in this time, in this place, in the small space of your home and your heart. And perhaps we will find that as He Easters inside of us, the foggy layer of sorrow that once silenced our joyful hearts will be vanquished, leaving an expansive space to worship and adore the indwelling Lord who is risen indeed, alleluia, alleluia.
For I believe that we are indeed an Easter people, and alleluia is our battle cry—amen?