By Jackie Arnold
My son Rick asked me recently what I was up to. My answer was, “Well, I was asked to write a blog. I said yes, of course, because I don’t know how to say no. So, first I need to find out what a blog is.” He is used to that answer, so he laughed. It is wonderful at my age to learn new things. He gave a program on human trafficking recently and was surprised to learn I knew something about that too. It is amazing what you learn in women’s ministries, isn’t it?
My scripture for this blog post is John 20:1-18. It’s the story of Christ’s resurrection. Put yourself in Mary Magdalene’s shoes for a moment. She goes to the tomb to pray and finds the tomb empty. Thinking the body of Jesus had been stolen, she runs to tell someone and finds Peter and the other disciples. They don’t believe her.
How many times have you, especially when you were a child, had people not believe you? It’s very disheartening. It took Jesus several times to convince the disciples himself that he had risen again. It took Jesus three times to convince Thomas it really was Jesus. (That’s where the phrase “Doubting Thomas” come from).
Jesus said “Peace be with you. As the father has sent me, even so I send you: Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven.” Those are pretty powerful words.
I volunteered at the hospital for about 20 years. One day I met a new volunteer and the first thing she said to me was, “I understand you are a Christian. I just want you to know that I have done some really bad things in my life and I know God won’t forgive me.” I looked at her and was stunned. First, I didn’t know I had that reputation and, second, I was stunned that she was so adamant that God wouldn’t forgive her. Was she testing me? What was going on?
I looked at her and said, “Jesus forgave you when he died on the cross.” “Oh, not me,” she said. “I have done some really bad things.” I wanted to assure her that it doesn’t matter how bad you have been, God forgives you. All you need to do is ask him.
After that we had customers coming in and didn’t have any more time to talk. Unfortunately, I never saw her again. I have prayed for her often and wondered how she was. Sometimes we can’t convince others that God forgives. We just need to pray for them.
My pastor spoke of how important it is to remember those “quiet” ones: the ones who stay at home a lot, don’t get involved in anything, and don’t talk to many people. I thought of my sister, Judy. Some of you may know that she went to be with Jesus in December. Someone told me once if someone sneezed around Judy she would send them a “Get Well” card. How cool is that? If you know someone who is a “quiet one,” send them a “thinking of you” card or give them a phone call. Judy will look down on you and smile.
Photo Credit: Keller, Albert von, 1844-1920. Mary Magdalene at the Tomb, from Art in the Christian Tradition, a project of the Vanderbilt Divinity Library, Nashville, TN. http://diglib.library.vanderbilt.edu/act-imagelink.pl?RC=46231 [retrieved February 28, 2018]. Original source: http://www.yorckproject.de.