She went early, while it was still dark- on a morning like this.
John 20 provides the details. She went to the tomb–she who had stood beside his mother at the crucifixion, who had been there when they buried him–now she comes in the early morning to annoint his body.
But he is not there.
She runs to tell the disciples that the body is not there–where could he be?
You can feel the panic.
The rush of seeking, of looking in the tomb, of running, and then she is alone, there in front of an empty tomb.
And then there are angels, dressed in white. (20:13) But even they do not stay her seeking: “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.”
Having said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing, but she did not know that it was Jesus.
Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?”
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.” (20:14-16)
This painting is luminous. It hangs in the Getty Museum in Los Angeles and is one of my favorite medieval works.
It’s the moment before realization, the moment before all of the sad things come untrue.
Mary turns, perhaps blinded by her tears. Is that the gardner? Please, if you know where he is, tell me. I will take him.
And then his voice: Mary.
I love the way the light plays across the fabric, the slight turn of her head, the darkness of the tomb, the hope of the blue sky with its fair clouds.
She is illumined by golden light. Is it the rising sun? Is it the radiance of his own being?
He says her name, and her eyes are open. He has risen.
Yesterday we celebrated the resurrection, and I was struck once again by the life-altering fact that the same power that raised Jesus from the dead is at work in me, accomplishing his purposes.
So often I live as if nothing miraculous happened that day. I am illumined from the outside, but I live in that moment before the realization hit. I glow like the moon in the light of the sun, there in his presence. But the Lord invites me to more–the same power that raised him from the dead, there at work through his Holy Spirit in my own life.
My prayer for me, for you: as we live, let us reflect the glory of the risen Christ, and let us be filled with his Spirit, that our lives might be transformed from the inside out. Let us see him and know him, and then live in light of that gospel.
Jesus, we know you. You called us by name, and you have transformed everything, but so often we live as if nothing has really changed. Just yesterday we celebrated the most significant moment in all of history–your power over death. Yet it is easy to wake up to a Monday full of demands and concerns, and go forward as those who are still seeking. Jesus, as I walk through this day, as I interact with my husband and kids and clients, let me not only reflect you, but overflow with the light of your gospel. Let it have a real and concrete effect on how I live today. Let me hear your voice saying my name, reminding me that I am yours, and that this life is yours. Show me what you have prepared for me to do today, and let me rest in the finished work of the cross even as I go forward in the power of the resurrection. Amen.