Prayer #108: Once Lost, Now Found

"Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, "They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don't know where they have put him!"

So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. Then Simon Peter, who was behind him, arrived and went into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the burial cloth that had been around Jesus' head. The cloth was folded up by itself, separate from the linen.

Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead." -- John 20: 1-9

In this passage, Mary Magdalene is called by name. Simon Peter is called by name. The third disciple, however, remains unnamed, designated only as "the one Jesus loved."

My first impulse is to give him a backstory and some Biblical context, putting him squarely in the murky past. But I don't need to, nor should I.

This disciple belongs in the present. He is our contemporary. The tomb he runs into is the same we encounter each day when we look for Jesus in broad daylight but can't see Him. Not yet, anyway.

The one Jesus loves is me. The one Jesus loves is you. We see and we believe.

Prayer #108: Once Lost, Now Found

"They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don't know where they have put him!"

How does one misplace a God? Quite easily, it seems.

I often don't know where I've put You. I think I have You safely stored, and then You vanish, defying my compartments and asserting Your ubiquity.

This Easter season, You once again challenge me to find You on Your terms. You tear my gaze from the abandoned strips of linen and force me to look beyond the quiet tomb's opening, out into a swirling world that breeds confusion, loss, indignity, iniquity, and sorrow.

You give me a tall order -- to find You amid this chaos, to love others as You love me. Frankly, I'd rather keep mooning over the strips of linen. It's much easier. But, as I've come to realize, not nearly as fulfilling.

May I rise to meet Your challenge, Lord. May I leave in the tomb the shrouds that obscure my faith, and find You on the sunlit road.

Alleluia, amen!