Fr. Timothy Fountain
"Guy meets girl. Guy loses girl. Guy gets girl."
Where would we be without that basic plotline? Think of all the poems, plays, novels, songs, movies and TV shows we would lose.
Did you know that this plotline is in play during Holy Week?
Not to trivialize him, but Jesus is "the guy". The New Testament speaks of him as "the bridegroom" in all four Gospels and in the Revelation to John.
Not to exalt the church too much, but we are "the girl." The church – the gathering of his people – is "the bride of Christ" in the New Testament.
Over the first part of our church year, we are treated to the bridegroom’s courtship – "boy meets girl." He leaves the perfection of heaven to seek our imperfect hand. We trade gifts and glances with him all through Epiphany. Through Lent, we’ve sought forgiveness for our misunderstandings and betrayals.
Now, to borrow words from the Marriage service, he offers us "all that he is, and all that he has." But we, in fear and fickleness, push him away. "Boy loses girl," with plenty of sorrow and pain.
He sits at table with us and says, "Here’s my body. Here’s my blood. They are for you." And we sneak out to betray him.
He goes into agony in the garden as he faces the cost our relationship. And we fall asleep.
He refuses to defend himself and give us up when he is on trial. And we deny ever knowing him.
He hangs on the cross for hour upon God-forsaken hour, refusing the sedatives offered for his pain. And we either hide or, at best, stand and watch from the back of a mocking crowd.
He dies. And in that awful moment, crazy as it sounds, we sense that our destiny is with him – "boy gets girl" becomes an outlandish possibility.
Our fickle eyes see with new understanding. "Truly, this man was God’s Son!"
The curtain of the Temple, that great symbol of a God we can know about but never touch, is torn in two. We see the way to the "Bridal Suite" wide open now.
We have a choice. We can just walk away, lamenting what might have been.
Or, even with great sorrow and doubt, we can do what Mary Magdalene did.
We can come back.