Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24 • Jeremiah 31:1-6 • Colossians 3:1-4 • John 20:1-18
“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 disciples . . . and said to them, ‘they have taken the Lord out of the tomb and we do not know where they have laid him.’” For Mary Magdalene the day begins in darkness, confusion, sorrow, fear, suspicion and flight. The other two disciples confirm her story and then simply return home. But Mary Magdalene stays by the empty tomb weeping. There in that empty, barren place of death she is met by Jesus . . . not resuscitated to his former life but raised to new life, and he speaks to her words of reassurance, words of new life.
As citizens living in a world of technological marvels that make time and distance trifles to be overcome, we are uncertain what to make of Mary Magdalene’s experience. We are uncertain what, if any, place this narrative can have in our own life of faith.
It is a narrative of new life overcoming places of death, and it is a summons to each of us to take part in it here and now. All around us are places of darkness and death, of fear and confusion. All around us are places where hunger, sickness, homelessness, violence, prejudice, and neglect entomb us in darkness. Just as for Mary Magdalene, as disciples we are called to do more than weep helplessly. This Easter morning and every morning is our invitation to bring God’s healing, empowering life into every dark corner of death. The Alleluias we sing today are our promise to accept that vocation, to become disciples, to help God’s light and life overcome the darkness of our world. Alleluia, Christ, the light of the world, is risen.
— The Rev. Paula Kettlewell