In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit, Amen. Christ is Risen! Indeed He is Risen!

Today we commemorate the memory of the Myrrhbearing Women – the women who came to the tomb of the Lord to properly adorn His Holy Body with myrrh and spices, as was the Jewish custom of the time. Of course, as we all know, they found the stone rolled away from the tomb and an angel was waiting for them in the tomb to announce that Christ is Risen! They were then to tell the Apostles to wait for the Lord in Galilee. But they went away from the tomb amazed and filled with fear, not understanding exactly what had happened.
As I thought about this event this past week, I felt very uninspired, I found it very difficult to think about my homily for this morning. I kind of wrote it off as the post-Pascha “let-down” that many people feel – after celebrating the much anticipate event, somehow the lack of anticipation often causes a sort of emptiness to develop. As I followed this train of thought, I realized how poor my love of Christ must really be, that I approach His Holy Gospel, and see this beautiful action of the Myrrhbearing Women with such a lack of spiritual excitement. And there it was – the inspiration for us all of the love of the Myrrhbearing Women for the Lord.
By the time our Lord neared the end of His earthly ministry, nearly all of those who were continuing to follow Him felt that He was the promised Messiah. And they were like many of the Jews of their time – even though they heard the words that the Lord preached, they still anticipated that He would be the liberator of the people of Israel – that He would free them from Roman oppression. Their shock and let down when He was crucified would be hard for us to comprehend. They had laid aside everything to follow Him, and now He was dead. They had believed Him to be the Messiah, and now He was gone. He had worked miracles, even raised people from the dead, and now He was dead and gone.

We read of the Apostle’s reaction, locking themselves up in a hidden room and living in fear that they would be tracked down and killed as well. But the women we read about this morning showed incredible courage to come to the tomb of the Lord – they had no fear of the Roman or the Jewish authorities. We also remember St Nikodemos and Joseph of Arimathea today, who took the body of Jesus and prepared it and laid it in the tome. They also showed an incredible amount of courage, especially as they were men of position in the Jewish community. In addition to their courage, the Myrrhbearing Women showed true faith and love. Their love for the Lord overwhelmed anything else they might have been feeling, and they hastened to the tomb to anoint His body, filled with love for Him.

This is the first and greatest commandment given – to love the Lord your God. The Myrrhbearing Women demonstrate for us this love. Despite all of the questions that might have come up, despite doubts that the Saviour’s death might have raised, love set them aside. This is a great testimony to us, a great example and encouragement, as we seek also to love Christ in the midst of this fallen world. As we follow the Lord in our lives, it’s not uncommon for something entirely unexpected to happen to us. Sometimes these things are good, oftentimes they are bad. If our love for God is weak, then it’s easy for our faith to be shaken, for us to begin to question God and why He allows certain things to exist. I’m sure the Myrrhbearing Women were confused and uncertain on their way to the tomb that morning, but they stayed the course in faith and in love.
It’s vital that we remember in the spiritual life, in life in general, that love is not some kind of goofy emotional feeling that ebbs and flows and comes and goes. Love, true love, is a choice – an constantly active choice. We choose God above all else – and as we continue to choose Him in the good and the bad, in times we hurt and don’t understand, then our love continues to grow and to deepen. And as we live in that love, Christ reveals Himself to us more and more fully and completely, just as He did with the Myrrhbearing Women, the Apostles, and all the Saints. The Myrrhbearing Women encourage and remind us this morning that no matter what situation we may be facing in life, our only sure anchor is Christ. We cling to Him with love, we cry out to Him from the depths of our hearts in prayer, we know that He is the one thing needful. And how incredibly blessed we are to know Him, and love Him, however imperfect we may be.
Christ is Risen! Indeed He is Risen!

Matthew Jackson

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