But the angel said to the women, “Do not be afraid; I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified.” Suddenly Jesus met them and said, “Greetings!” And they came to him, took hold of his feet, and worshipped him. – Matthew 28:5 and 9, NRSV
I travel so much.
Every time my child learns of another trip, another meeting, she pulls me in closer. She becomes, as some would say, “clingy.”
The times I’m headed to the next place I have to go, she inserts herself—just at the last moment—most forcefully, grabbing my legs, trying her best to linger in the sweet togetherness one moment longer. Even if it means a breakdown before wedging ourselves apart. It happens rarely. But when it does and I walk away, something in me rips. Maybe it does for her, too.
I hear stories about Jesus after the resurrection, on his way somewhere else, and I can identify with something of how my child feels when I have to leave.
In these quick glimpses of God, in those intimate encounters with something holy, I desperately want to cling so tightly to my ultimate protector, my maker. I cling to God because I’m terrified that if I don’t, something bad will happen.
And yet Jesus pries away from the Marys’ grip.
Maybe because Jesus already knows that God’s embrace on us never yields.
I do not know how to help my child reconcile her fears to the demands of the moment. But maybe I can show her, as God shows me, that my embrace extends past any physical barrier.
In meetings, on the road, even when my attention falters, she is still my baby wrapped in the closest grip of my deepest love.
In the name of the Parent, and of the Child, and of the Holy Spirit: may we know ourselves sheltered, held, protected and never cast away. Amen.
Kaji Douša is the Senior Pastor of The Park Avenue Christian Church, a congregation of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) and the United Church of Christ, in New York City.