3/31/2013 Mary Kate McAlister (C’14)
1 Corinthians 15:19-26
Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb. So she ran and went to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one whom Jesus loved, and said to them, ‘They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him.’ Then Peter and the other disciple set out and went towards the tomb. The two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent down to look in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he did not go in. Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen wrappings lying there, and the cloth that had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in a place by itself. Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; for as yet they did not understand the scripture, that he must rise from the dead. Then the disciples returned to their homes.
But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet. 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.’ When she had said this, she turned round and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping? For whom are you looking?’ 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!’ She turned and said to him in Hebrew, ‘Rabbouni!’ (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, ‘Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, “I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.” ’ Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, ‘I have seen the Lord’; and she told them that he had said these things to her. - John 20:1-18
"Mary stood weeping..."
So often I find myself, like Mary, weeping.
No, no, no...it's not the same as crying. It's not anything like the can't-catch-your-breath-sobs. It's not like tearing up over small joys or little heartbreaks. It's not like watery eyes after sneezing or dampened cheeks from riding your bike in the early morning wind.
Weeping occurs at that very last moment. You know what I'm talking about? When you feel all else has gone away, the foundation beneath your feet has cracked, and all that's left is you. Alone.
The question, "Whom are you looking for?" becomes the voice inside your head - an all too familiar question as it's repeated, and repeated, and repeated. We begin to look, like Mary, for someone to hold onto. For someone we can't quite find right away.
Easter reminds us of this constant desire - to hold on and be held, simultaneously. It's a human desire. I know it is. And so does God. Barbara Brown Taylor says that in this Easter story, Jesus "knows that all in all, we would rather keep him with us where we are than let him take us where he is going."
Don't you feel that? When you weep, isn't that what you long for? For Jesus to stay, to weep with you, to let you hold onto him, for you to be held? That is certainly how I feel - I think Mary may have felt that way, too.
Don't you see we're not that different? Me and you, me and Mary, you and Mary. We have that same, human desire.
Mary wept. She longed for her Lord, and then he came. Like always, Jesus came.
That, too, is not that different. Jesus came to Mary as she wept and he comes for us when we weep. Easter is simply our reminder of God's unbreakable habit to always appear during our most vulnerable states - the ones that induce weeping because all else has gone away, the foundation beneath our feet has cracked, and all that's left is us. Alone. But do not worry, beloved child, Jesus comes. Like always.