This post is based on Week Eight of An Ignatian Prayer Adventure.
I wonder what the time between Friday afternoon and Sunday morning was like for the disciples of Jesus. They witnessed his death and buried his body, and they waited for the first daybreak after the Sabbath to visit the tomb. Were they speaking with each other, trying to make sense of what had happened, or did they sit in silence? Did they comfort each other, mourn together, try to eat? Could they sleep? What does anyone do after a tragedy?
I imagine this waiting-time was filled with uncertainty and longing. There was also fear; this we know from the Gospel accounts. They waited, not knowing what would happen next. While I usually associate waiting with the Advent season, I wonder now if Lent captures a different side of waiting, the kind the disciples might have felt. Perhaps this waiting is sober, more guttural, full of groanings and longings. We become aware of our vulnerability, our dependence, and our need.
And yet this vulnerability opens us to God’s surprises. Mary Magdalene was surprised when he called her name. Peter and his fellow fisherman were surprised by the sudden pull in their casted nets. Thomas was surprised by the solidness of the person in front of him. The men walking the road to Emmaus were surprised by their guest at table, later noticing the longing within themselves: “Were not our hearts burning within us on the road?”
We too recognize the Resurrected Jesus in these moments of surprise—in a familiar voice calling us by name, in unexpected abundance, in a concrete experience of God’s presence, in the breaking of the bread. These surprises are moments of recognition—when we know the Risen God is in our midst and that Easter is not a one-time event. The wait is over and daybreak comes. Joy surprises, and everywhere resurrection is happening.