The Vocation of Resurrection

None of the four Gospel accounts of the resurrection totally agrees with one another. The number of angels, the number of disciples, the number of appearance stories—these details differ. But they all have one thing in common. They all include Mary Magdalene—this enigmatic figure—a woman whom some think was a harlot, though there is no biblical proof of that. What is clear is that Mary is disturbed in some way—a woman who has seven demons, according to Luke.

And so Mary stands for all of us—all of us who can’t seem to get through a day without being disturbed in some unsettling way. What we discover, thankfully, is that God recreates Mary. God recreates us—calming us, claiming us, and yes, calling us by name—calling to become brand new. Do not hold on to me. Do not hold on to the past. Do not hold on to the fears, the failures, the frustrations that have so deeply disturbed you. Do not hold on to the losses, the lamentations, the limitations that have so immobilized you. Instead go. Go and tell. Go and serve. Go and live. And lo, I am with you—risen and walking beside you every step of the way.

All of which suggests another central truth of Easter. For each of us—each of us who is disturbed by the problems and passions and pressures of the past, God is calling us to the future. And God is giving us a new vocation, a new purpose, a new identity, a new calling. Our new vocation is the vocation of resurrection. Our new vocation is to be God’s astounding, merciful, resurrecting presence in a world badly in need of grace (with thanks to William Willimon for this insight). Yes, my friends, Easter is as much about us as it is about God. Easter is as much about life on this side of the grave as it is about life on the other side of the grave. Easter is as much about vocation as it is about victory. Easter is when God takes our personal relationship with Jesus, cracks it open, and pours it out, propelling us to love the world as much as we love God.

- Susan Andrews, in a sermon, "Telling the Truth," in Perspectives, online journal of the Office of the General Assembly, Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.), May 2004