It’s still dark as Mary Magdalene comes by herself to the tomb,
Overwhelmed by grief.
The course of her life changed by this man.
Remembering the horror of Jesus’ death as she stood at the foot of the cross with
Jesus’ mother and his mother’s sister.
Refusing to leave.
Watching as the body of Jesus is laid in a tomb in a garden in the place Jesus
Haunted by the memories.
Mary Magdalene, defined by the name of her village, Magdala, along the Sea of Galilee, coming back to the tomb the next morning.
Immediately sensing that something is amiss.
What? The stone has been rolled away.
Abandon all hope, all ye who enter here.
The body – it’s gone. Jesus, where are you?
Crying out to Peter and John. “Please, come! My Lord is gone! They have taken him away!”
Running back to the tomb, John gets there first.
Taking a peek at the entrance, he sees the linen cloths but stays outside where it is safe.
Peter goes right on in and finds the cloths, with the face cloth neatly folded.
Finding his courage, John tiptoes in, sees, and believes.
Then they go back, wondering what all of this means.
Mary refuses to leave the tomb. Through her tears, she looks inside and sees two angels dressed in white, sitting where Jesus had been laid.
“Why are you crying?”
“Because they have taken away my Lord, and I don’t know where they put him.”
Turning around, there he is: Jesus. But Mary doesn’t recognize him. She thinks he’s a gardener.
“Why are you crying? Who are you looking for?”
“If you’ve taken Jesus away, tell me where he is.”
Jesus gives her a long, loving look.
“Don’t try to hold on to me, Mary. You’ll have to let go. I’m going up to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.”
Mary Magdalene, without the best of reputations, is the first one to proclaim the good news to the disciples, “I’ve seen the Lord.”
She testifies to the good news.
Watching, running, bending, looking, seeing, believing, proclaiming, letting go, witnessing:
Where have you seen the Lord over this past month of social distancing, prayer, and reaching out?
Where have you experienced transformation?
Whom have you called, just to check in?
When have you testified to the goodness of God in the midst of a pandemic that threatens so many in our world?
How have you observed hope through the care and compassion of our healthcare professionals, risking their lives to save other lives?
How has your church embodied the radical love of Jesus by providing food, clothing, and other aid to all those who are now unemployed or in need?
How do you pray for your pastor as well as our political leaders, who are responsible for such momentous decisions?
Where have you been able to boldly proclaim, “I’ve seen the Lord!” and then put your resurrection faith into practice?
Risen Lord, as Mary Magdalene met you by the garden tomb on the morning of your resurrection, so may we meet you today and every day. Speak to us as you spoke to her. Reveal yourself to us as our living Savior. Renew our hope, kindle our joy, and inspire us to share the good news with others. … In the light of the risen Christ, all is transformed. Now we may look back over the past, we may look in upon ourselves, and we may look out upon the world, and see all in a fresh light. We see people, and we pray with the “resurrection eyes” of our Lord Jesus. Amen.[i]
From the gospel of John, chapter 20 (CEB)
[i] Liturgies from Lindisfarne (Ray Simpson, Kevin Mayhew LTD, 2010 pp. 162-163)