Tuesday, April 18, 2006
Mary stood outside Jesus' tomb, crying.
As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus' body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.
They asked her, "Woman, why are you crying?"
"They have taken my Lord away," she said, "and I don't know where they have put him."
At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.
Then Jesus said to her, "Mary."
She turned toward him and cried out, "Rabboni!"
Jesus said, "Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet returned to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, 'I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.'"
Mary ran away from that place as fast as she could. Of course she went to tell the disciples that she had seen Jesus. But she wept all the way. Jesus showed himself to her, and then pulled away. They had been so close, and he appeared to her before anyone. But not to be the way it was! Not to touch him, not to have him close, not to be with him again. His presence must have been so sweet and then so soon again sad. He was going, going ...
Gone were the days of joyful rambling over the fields of Galilee, talking about life in heaven, remembering the relieved and amazed faces of men and women healed of lifelong illness or injury. Gone were the nights of crackling fires, warm summer air, sharing food and wine, seeing Jesus go quiet and get up from the group, go away alone. No one bothered him then. He was going away to pray. He wanted to be with God, but he didn't call him God. He called him Father.
Now Jesus said, as he had said so often, God was her Father too. She knew how much he loved her. But he was gone, the man she loved was gone. What had come in his place? Was this new Jesus something different, something more? What did he mean, "I have not yet returned to my Father." Where did he come from and where was he going?
And for that matter, where have I come from? And where am I going? Mary's mind swirled with questions as she ran and ran and ran into the new morning of Jesus' resurrection. How does knowing Jesus change things? Change me? Who am I? What happens next?
Questions only you can answer, Jesus. And you have a way of saying so little, speaking softly and carrying a big stick. Let me just be led into the world you've made, Lord. You know the way.