Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”; and she told them that he had said these things to her. – John 20:18
Lately, I have been reflecting on the word, “IMPACT.” Merriam-Webster defines impact as “a powerful or major influence or effect.” Mary Magdalene was the FIRST disciple to make an impact when she told the other disciples and followers of Jesus about his resurrection. It was, at this point, the moment when the disciples (the students) of Jesus became apostles (the ones being sent out). These band of followers known as “The People of the Way” truly believed that Jesus, the Christos, the anointed one, is “the way, and the truth, and the life” (John 14:6a). They were able to experience this first-hand through the healing, teaching, and miracles of Jesus before his death. And now, after a week of horrific events that led to the crucifixion of Jesus, Mary Magdalene announces to them that she has seen the Lord! I can only begin to imagine the impact that those words had on these grief-stricken, fearful people.
For me, Holy Week takes me to this place. To the celebration of Palm Sunday, to the confusion of Maundy Thursday, with the grace and love of the footwashing by Jesus and his words to “do this in remembrance of me,” to the beating and brutal death of Jesus, to the burial and the mourning of the disciples on Easter Vigil, trying to hang on to the promises and teachings of their Lord and Savior.
The days of Maundy Thursday to Easter Vigil are known as the “Triduum” meaning “three days” in Latin. During these days, worship is one continuous worship without preludes, postludes and benedictions. Worship is structured so that we can immerse ourselves into God’s big story of redemption for all of creation. They immerse us deeply into the story so that on Easter Sunday, we FEEL and EXPERIENCE the IMPACT of Mary Magdalene’s words, “I have seen the Lord!”
When we limit ourselves to just worshipping on Palm Sunday and/or Easter Sunday, we are missing the IMPACT. We are missing out on experiencing God’s big story of redemption and why we are called to move from being disciples to being apostles. We cannot truly celebrate the joys of Easter without going through the pain, suffering, and hell of Maundy Thursday and Good Friday and the grief of Easter Vigil Saturday. The Triduum defines us as Christians, as People of the Way.
I am asking you, I am pleading with you, to experience the IMPACT of God’s big story of redemption. Where ever you are on March 29, 30 and 31, find a place to worship; even if that means you attend an ecumenical worship or worship hosted by a different Christian denomination. Please just go and experience the Triduum in its entirety. If you don’t drive at night, ask someone for a ride. And if you find yourself homebound during this time, read or have someone read to you John 12:20 – 20:18.
My prayer for you is that your heart is open to allow God’s story of redemption through his Son, Jesus, to have an IMPACT on your life.
Peace be with you.