Thrive: The Depths and Mysteries of Life – Amy Shorner-Johnson

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But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said. Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples, ‘He has been raised from the dead, and indeed he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him.’ This is my message for you.” So they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples.
—Matthew 28: 5-8

I am always grateful for the testimony of the women who came to the tomb. This story is a powerful witness and an affirmation of the women’s part in the sharing of the good news that God gives us. But I especially appreciate the affirmation that there is complexity in life; we can sense some of that complexity in the resurrection story. Our gospel writer, Matthew, notes both the fear and the joy these women felt.

How often I find myself wrestling with two (or more) very different emotions, and sometimes I don’t know which one to trust more. The Marys must have acknowledged their fear somewhere along the way, but they were not paralyzed by it, at least not for long. I wonder if it was more their fear or their joy that carried their legs as they ran to tell the disciples of the news. I wonder which emotion the disciples saw first in the women’s eyes as they opened the door.

How easy it is when we face complicated matters to want to live out the comfortable or the simple response. Yet we have been gifted with multiple ways to react, multiple ways to grapple with the depths and mysteries of life. Sometimes we have the opportunity to deal with widely different emotions that speak to the immense impact of our experiences. How often do faith and doubt seem to appear together? Or grief and celebration? Exhaustion? Or the all-too-familiar bittersweet moments?

How do we honor the reality of these seemingly different emotions as equally part of our experience with God? How might we extend the graceful room for those who need the space to feel the whole experience?

May you find in life’s complexity the room to honor all the depths in which God invites you to participate.

Amy Shorner-Johnson_325Amy Shorner-Johnson is the assistant chaplain at Elizabethtown College in Elizabethtown, Pennsylvania. She is a wife to Kevin, a mom to Leah and Joel, and a friend to a cherished many both near and far. She enjoys listening to students and continuing to learn in a college setting, as well as trying to bring a taste of the south into a northern state.

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