Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.” Then Peter and the other disciple set out and went toward the tomb. The two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent down to look in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen wrappings lying there, and the cloth that had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not understand the scripture, that he must rise from the dead. Then the disciples returned to their homes.
But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet. They said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?” She said to them, “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.” When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni!” (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, “Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord”; and she told them that he had said these things to her. John 20:1-18
Easter is a wondrous and most holy day in the church calendar. We celebrate the resurrection of Jesus with wonderful music ans pageantry. The rest of the culture has little or no awareness of what is going on. The focus is on new clothes, bunnies and eggs. Very few understand that all of these are symbols of the resurrection. They don't worry about what we do. As it was on that very first Easter, it was a glorious moment witnessed by a very few.
Mary went out early and was hurt and shocked by what she saw. Then the Peter in John, seemingly in a foot race, fearfully went in to the tomb, saw the evidence of his rising and went home, leaving Mary alone again. It seems as if they didn't tell her the good news, as maybe they didn't understand it at that moment. So Mary got a visit by angels. Her weeping and confusing were met with promises from the angels. Even better, she met Jesus face to face and he called her by name. Now for those of us who might be weeping today, or can't deal with the emptiness we see, there is still more to come. A loving God who see our anguish and calls us each by name.
On this Easter Monday I ask God to give me the strength to face the emptiness and trust the angels' message. May we know that we will see him face to face and each be loved and called by name.