This past Sunday we celebrated the Resurrection of Jesus, the central event of our faith, and read together John's account of that moment when the tomb is empty and Jesus reveals himself. But, no sooner has the Risen Lord been recognized, then he says to Mary "Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father."
This seems like an odd thing to say, frankly. Of course Mary wants to hold on to him; he was dead and now is alive again, he was gone and now has returned. Imagine a loved one of yours was lost and now has come home; wouldn't you want to hold on to them and never let go?
But Jesus says "do not hold on to me" and explains that soon he will leave again. What an emotional roller coaster for the disciples. Jesus is gone and now he is back and then he says he is leaving again...it must be confusing and heart wrenching. But Jesus knows what the disciples do not yet fully know. When Jesus ascends to the Father, the Holy Spirit will come, and the Holy Spirit will be with them forever and everywhere.
In John 14, Jesus says "I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever." Jesus isn't leaving them alone, he is sending them the power of the Spirit that will be with them forever and always. You see Jesus, in body, was limited to one place at one time; but the Spirit is with us always and everywhere. Once we have the Spirit, we will never be alone.
So Jesus returns and tells us to "let him go" (like the song from Frozen) so that we can find an even better gift; the power of the Spirit in us and through us...with us forever.
Easter may be over, but the best is yet to come.
Christ is Risen, He is Risen Indeed!