Sunday, April 12
“Woman, why are you crying?”
This morning, we meet Mary Magdalene all alone near Jesus’ tomb after the departure of Peter and John, who have come to investigate her report that the tomb is empty. It is still dark, and Mary is grief-stricken over Jesus’ death. Amplifying her deep sadness is her bewilderment at finding Jesus’ tomb empty. Mary’s sadness and bewilderment must also make room for frustration when she must respond to two strangers in the tomb asking why she is crying. The question is repeated by another stranger, whom she mistakes for the gardener. He asks her again: “Woman, why are you crying?” She doesn’t yet know it’s Jesus, but she soon will.
Why do you cry? Tears can mean many things. They carry the names of those we have lost. They represent the fears we carry and pains we bear in our bodies, minds and souls. We shed tears for ourselves and for others. Sometimes our tears tell stories of pain and worry we can’t even put into words.
On Easter, we remember that Mary hears the familiar voice of the Jesus, alive and present, calling to her in her pain. On Easter, we celebrate how she leaves that healing encounter with tears of sadness transformed into tears of joy. Her mourning has become dancing. The one who has borne her griefs also commissions her to tell the good news: “I have seen the Lord!” She beheld the risen Christ through her own tear-filled eyes.
Our lives with Jesus on this side of resurrection do not promise to be tear-free. We do have the assurance that we serve a Lord who calls us, cares for us and commissions us to proclaim the hope of new life with him even as our tears fall. There is much in our lives and world over which to weep. Still, the resurrection tells us that God is at work, on the move and in the world, and God will have the last word over it all.
Be encouraged and strengthened. May the one who wipes away every tear from your eyes fill you with hope and joy, and may you go and share it with those who need to hear it today.
Christ has Risen! Alleluia!
God of Creation, creating anew, the silence is broken.
With the Mary in the garden, I catch my breath, wipe my tears, and try to articulate my experience with you. What words can describe shadows fleeing from the tomb? How can I tell of the morning the world turned upside-down? No mortal words will do.
Still, help me run to spread the news: “I have seen the Lord!”
My knees may grow weak from running; my voice may tremble – but let me bear witness that my eyes have seen the glory of the Lord loosed upon the world! May every breath I take, every word I utter, every thing I do, witness to the truth of Christ’s resurrection, this day and every day. Amen.
— Christopher Ingram