First responders, when in a crisis situation, arrive to the scene with little information. They may hear on the radio from dispatch the general situation, what has occurred, who the patient is, and a basic overview of the situation. The responders may have some insight of what led to the circumstances. But it is not until the responders arrive and see, with their own eyes, the full scope of the present moment. They are looking, specifically, for an indication of life.
First responders follow a ritual of full diagnosis by checking the heart rate, the breathing, blood pressure and temperature. Even in the most crucial of moments, knowing these signals help them to manage the crisis. More importantly, the faintest response, from any of these vitals, confirms hope.
In John 20:1-18, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb with one goal in mind: to perform with a proper burial as Jesus was hastily laid in the tomb to meet the requirements of the Jewish Sabbath on that Friday. When she arrived, her expectation was to find the tomb covered. Her planned ritual was of checking again all the signs, seeing her savior face to face, proceeding with the practice of frankincense and myrrh, and restoring some humanity in face of the brutality was previously inflicted.
Instead, the moved stone drove up Mary Magdalene’s own heart rate. Her call to dispatch to report in with Simon Peter drove up his blood pressure and the maybe the excitement made all who heard a little warm with anticipation. Upon returning, the angels who redirected Mary Magdalene’s thinking of death brought in a certain pneumatic whisk. All these combined gave confirmation that there was life, even after the situation seemed fatal.
This week, be a first responder. Check the vital signs of that assignment God has for you; reconsider the elements you thought were dead. Perhaps there’s a little life, a little hope, left.