I have seen the Lord

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by Patricia Swyers, Commissioner – 

It’s Easter and once again I find comfort and joy in the familiar words of the Easter story. I find great hope in the way Christ comforts the sorrowing Mary by simply calling her name.

There is once again the stirring in my heart as I read the story of the Emmaus Road with the phrases: “Jesus Himself drew near” and “Did not our hearts burn within us?” that bring the reassurance that Christ Himself comes into our midst and His Presence is unmistakable to us.

And there is reassurance in this Centenary year of Women’ Ministries as I read the accounts of those followers of Christ that I call “the women of Easter”—women who had come to know Christ and believed that He was truly the Son of God. They are often mentioned in Scripture as they followed and served Christ. These are some of the same women mentioned in Mark 15:40 in describing the events surrounding the crucifixion. In particular we read: “Some women were there, watching from a distance, including Mary Magdalene, Mary the Mother of James, and Salome. They had been followers of Jesus and had cared for Him while He was in Galilee. Many other women who had come with Him to Jerusalem were also there.” These are significant words, which speak volumes of their commitment to this Christ who had not only treated them with respect, but had given them forgiveness of their sins. I can picture them as they gathered together, fearful and sad, but resolute in their desire to comfort and support the One who had been their encouragement and support. There was little else that they could do.

Luke tells us that these women stayed at the cross until Christ’s body was taken away; then they followed to see the tomb where His body was placed before going home to prepare the spices and perfumes that they would use to anoint Him.

And now we read that very early on Sunday morning while it was still dark, these women who had been among the few faithful followers to be present at Jesus’ death were on their way to anoint His body. They had witnessed the exclamation of the Roman soldier at the Crucifixion who cried out: “Surely this man was the Son of God,” and now they were the first to witness that the stone had been rolled away from the tomb. It was Mary Magdalene who first ran to tell the disciples and returned, standing outside the tomb crying when the Resurrected Christ appears to her. In her sorrow, she does not recognize Him until He speaks her name, “Mary.” It was a familiar voice, which she recognized, and suddenly her sorrow was turned into joy. Mary Magdalene, one of the faithful few, was honored to be the first to see the Resurrected Christ. Mary was also the first evangelist as she ran to find the disciples with the message: “I have seen the Lord.”

Yes, the women of Easter were an integral part in the story of Christ’s Resurrection, and today I am privileged to serve alongside women who faithfully proclaim this same message: “I have seen the Lord,” and He has changed my heart and my life. Women who stand firm in their beliefs and are eager to share the news that Christ died for the “whosoever” and was resurrected to bring us life eternal. I am proud of the women who are committed to serve and encourage and who desire to Win Our World for God. WOW! Like the women of Easter, we all can be messengers of hope and evangelists of the truth that Christ is alive and His love and salvation is available to all! May the Resurrected Christ draw near to you this Easter and may His Presence renew and refresh both you and those you love.

Happy Easter!

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