Good morning, girls and boys! How are you doing? I sure miss you.
I brought the tile we were going to share in Sunday school this week. I bet you know what’s happening in this picture. Did you listen to the scripture Will read? Yes, it’s Mary Magdalene, standing outside the tomb, looking in and she’s crying. She tells the two angels that she sees that she’s crying because she doesn’t know where Jesus’ body is.
Then she turns around and sees someone that she doesn’t recognize, maybe he’s the man who takes care of the grounds there. He asks her why she’s crying, and she says Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.
She doesn’t recognize him, standing right in front of her, but does he recognize her? Of course.
And then he says Mary. He calls her name and immediately she knows that he’s Jesus.
That moment when she doesn’t recognize him, and he’s standing right there, always reminds me of this book I bet you know. I’ve shared it before. It’s Harry the Dirty Dog, by Gene Zion. Remember the story? Harry hates baths so he buries the scrub brush and runs away from home. He plays so hard and gets so dirty that he changes from a white dog with black spots to a black dog with white spots. He gets hungry and tired and goes home and no one recognizes him. He digs up the brush and gets his family to give him a bath and then they see it’s him.
God always has the power that we don’t often have: God can see past our dirt and the bad things we may do to see the person deep inside. God knows who we are inside, no matter what messes we get ourselves in.
But we’re not so good at that. God may show up right in front of us, through the helping hands of other people, through the warm breeze as we walk, through the love in our family. We may not recognize God’s tenderness as God holds us. But God always recognizes us.
So when something bad happens, Mary reminds us, trust what you know to be true. It’s impossible that Jesus is there. But she knows his voice.
When bad things -terrible things- happen, trust what you know to be the truest things of all: God knows you and loves you, no matter what. God will always be with you. You matter to God.
Let’s pray: God, thank you for loving us no matter the messes we get in. Help us to remember that when bad things happen, to trust in what we know to be the truest thing of all: your complete love for us, no matter what. We love you, God. Amen.