Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Weeping in the dark

Mary Magdalene recognizes Jesus - artist unknown
"Rabboni!"  - Artist unknown
TODAY'S SPECIAL: John 20:1-18

TO CHEW ON: " ' They have taken away the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid Him. … they have taken away my Lord and I do not know where they have laid Him. … Sir, if you have carried Him away, tell me where you have laid Him and I will take Him away.' " John 20:2,13,15

Mary's shock, perplexity, and desperation soak these verses. Though John's telling has her coming to the tomb alone, Mark's account includes Mary the Mother of James and Salome in this pre-dawn trek. They come with spices to anoint His body.

But the stone is rolled aside and His body gone!

I can imagine Mary's outrage as she breaks the news to Peter and John. She alone returns to the tomb with them. After they've checked the empty tomb for themselves and return home, she stays behind weeping.

But surely there must be some mistake. On looking into the burial place again she sees two angels (do you think she realized these were angels at the time?). One asks "Woman, why are you weeping?" She answers, "Because they have taken away my Lord and I do not know where they have laid Him."

Her interchange with the 'gardener' follows the same lines. She remains grief-absorbed until His "Mary" opens her eyes.

Mary's experience here reminds me of what we often go through in our times of desperation before Jesus shows up in one way or another. He could have saved Mary all those tears if He'd showed Himself to her and the others when they first arrived. But He didn't.

In Mary's life and often in ours, that seems to be His way. He comes in His own sweet time, after leaving us to weep in the dark for a while.

Dear Jesus, whether my time of puzzlement is short or long, please help me to never lose faith in You and Your good plans for me. Amen.

MORE: Feast of Mary Magdalene

Today the church liturgy celebrates the Feast of Mary Magdalene. The day's readings opens with this collect (the healing referred to in the prayer refers to her being set free from demon possession - Luke 8:2) :

Almighty God, whose blessed Son restored Mary Magdalene to health of body and of mind, and called her to be a witness of his resurrection: Mercifully grant that by your grace we may be healed from all our infirmities and know you in the power of his unending life; who with you and the Holy Spirit lives and reigns, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

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Unless otherwise noted all Scripture quotations are taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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