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Stepping Back – an Easter Reflection by Bree Watral

April 21, 2014

Student leader Bree Watral shares her clever reflection on the resurrection, JN 20:1-9. Journey with her towards new hope and perspective.  

My sister and I have a rabbit named Gatsby.  Several weeks ago, Gatsby accidentally opened her cage door but couldn’t figure out how to do it on her own again.  It took a while, but my sister was just waiting for the day when Gatsby would escape.  One Tuesday afternoon about a month ago, my sister came home from school to an empty cage.  Gatsby had finally gotten out.  My sister actually saw Gatsby hopping around the house before she saw the open cage, but I didn’t have that context.  All I had was a photo of the empty cage with the caption: “This is what I came home to.”

Initially, I reacted with worry.  Was Gatsby hurt?  Did my sister have a hard time finding her?  Had Gatsby gotten herself into some other form of mischief?  My sister quickly reassured me that everything was fine.  Gatsby was unharmed and my sister managed to get the mischievous rabbit back into her cage easily.  Those few minutes of panic between receiving the photo and my sister’s reassurance gave me only a slight idea of how Mary Magdalene and the apostles must have felt upon discovering Jesus’ tomb.  Jesus had alluded to his divine heritage and resurrection prior to his crucifixion, of course, but the actual moment of resurrection is much different from the anticipation of it.  They knew that Jesus would rise again, but the sight of an empty tomb still shocked them.  However, an unnamed disciple—probably John—realized what had happened.  He put the pieces together and realized that Jesus had risen.  It took a while for the disciples to see that this was true, but they eventually came to know of the resurrection.


Although the son of God and Gatsby the rabbit initially seem dissimilar, both serve as beacons of reassurance.  People cared enough about both of them to worry about their well-being, but it’s important to move beyond worrying whether someone is or isn’t there.  Worry often leaves the worrier stuck in negative thoughts, prohibiting them from looking at their situation with eyes of hope.  The unnamed disciple in the gospel had eyes of hope, as he could see that the absence of Jesus’ body meant that he had risen again.  Instead of becoming distraught at the loss of his friend and teacher, he stepped out of the situation and looked at it as a piece of a narrative rather than an isolated event.  The others knew what he did, but they did not step away for long enough to realize what had happened.

Distancing yourself from a worrisome situation—whether it’s the absence of the Son of God or a particularly clever rabbit—is difficult.  It’s easy to allow the rush of emotion to overtake you instead of taking a moment to step back and realize the grander scheme of events can help you to find clarity in a moment of hopelessness.

Do that today.  Step back from the stress, anger, or hurt in your life; when you come back, look at it with new eyes.  It’ll be like a resurrection.

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