Mary was standing outside the tomb crying, and as she wept, she stooped and looked in.John chapter 20, verse 11 from the New Living Translation
The Resurrection Story! Tell me, is the only time you think about it at Easter? For many, this falls into the category of You Only Read It At The Appropriate Liturgical Season. You know, like the Incarnation–you’re only supposed to read it around Christmas time, right? But, if any epic story from the Bible is appropriate 24/7/365, it’s The Resurrection. This morning it was Verse 11 from John’s account that hit me. Remember it with me.
Mary Magdalene had gone to the tomb. An appropriate response to grief. But the stone had been rolled away and the body wasn’t there. She ran back to tell the others, and some ran there to see for themselves, including Mary. With me so far? Good! Then they all went back, except Mary. Now she is all alone with her pain. Do you ever feel alone in your pain? A crisis? A fear? A problem? Uncertainty? At home? Even in church?
Perhaps you feel alone with your cancer. Or maybe you feel alone as you read that eviction notice or foreclosure statement. It could be as you are reading your termination letter. The feeling of alone pounces on you as you read your divorce decree. You watch your loved one just lie there in the midst of dementia and you feel alone. You watch your youngest child leave for college. Your child is The Prodigal Son and they just won’t reach out to you. And it could be you’re in your “Mary” moment. You are grieving at the grave. The dirt may be still fresh, or maybe the grass has grown back over it and it’s been years ago. Situations are different–but the loneliness is still the same.
And if John had ended his account of the Resurrection, then we would be justified in our “feeling alone”. But isn’t that just like God, to not let the story end at that point. Jesus is right there! She just doesn’t know it–YET! She stays and stays, then finally decides to leave the grave. Remember! She is still carrying her pain though she is leaving the grave. So, what happens next? Just in case you forgot or didn’t know:
14 She turned to leave and saw someone standing there. It was Jesus, but she didn’t recognize him. 15 “Dear woman, why are you crying?” Jesus asked her. “Who are you looking for?” She thought he was the gardener. “Sir,” she said, “if you have taken him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will go and get him.” 16 “Mary!” Jesus said. She turned to him and cried out, “Rabboni!” (which is Hebrew for “Teacher”).John chapter 20, verses 14 through 16 from the New Living Translation
There were two Resurrections that morning. The first was Jesus and the second was Mary. When YOU feel all alone, you’re not. The Owner And Master of The Resurrection is also present, even if you don’t recognize Him. Resurrection isn’t bound and tied to a liturgical calendar. It happens every day and all the time. And it’s not just in the lonely places where we need a Resurrection. Problems may be mounting and chaos may seem to be the ruler over your life. Even sin may be telling you that you can never be free. But guess what? The CEO of The Resurrection is right there, ready to share with you The Resurrection you need. Oh, and don’t be surprised if He looks like a Groundskeeper!