One of my favorite Bible stories is that of Mary Magdalene at the empty tomb. Her grief still fresh and sharp, she believes a visit to Jesus’ burial site promises a private space to mourn.
But when Mary arrives, the stone has been rolled away. The perfume still lingers, but the grave is empty, save for a couple angels. They ask her why she weeps. “They have taken away my Lord,” Mary sobs, hot tears flooding her cheeks.
Nearby a gardener lingers. Mary rushes toward him and begs him for answers. Then, and this is what makes my heart catch every time, the supposed gardener — Jesus — calls Mary by her name. She hears his tender voice, turns to him and cries out, “Rabbouni!” (Teacher.) Jesus is alive; he has risen! Mary sprints to spread the good news.
This moment at the tomb defies all logic and reason and sense. Yet I cling to the resurrection promise because I need Jesus — the master gardener whose radical, inclusive love nourishes new life — alive in my heart today.
If we listen and look closely, signs of the resurrection abound: in the verdant moss covering a fallen tree trunk, the friends who call us by name and hoist us out of depression, in all our endings that offer a fresh beginning.
God, give me eyes for Easter now and all my tomorrows. Alleluia. Amen.