From Pauses for Pentecost
Jesus asked her, “Woman why are you crying?
Who is it you are looking for?”
In his telling of the early Easter-morning encounter, John describes Mary as heartbroken. She has gone to the tomb hoping to give Jesus her last act of love by anointing his body. To her great distress, the stone has been rolled away, and the body of Jesus is gone. She is overcome with anguish and heartache. Not being able to perform the final ritual is the last straw for her. She has come to the end of her rope.
It is exactly at this point, at the end of her rope, that the risen Jesus comes to her. This is always where he comes to us. He encounters us in our heartache and heartbreak and asks us the same question he asks Mary: “Why are you crying?” Like Mary, we need to hear this question and respond to it. To avoid this question is to run away from our pain, and the consequences of this often can be numerous and harmful. We need to express pain and help it find its voice in order to heal.
I wonder how you would respond to Jesus’s question, Why are you crying? Mary answers, “They have taken my Lord away and I don’t know where they have put him,” (John 20:13). She enters into honest conversation with Jesus about her pain. Slowly, she recognizes that the One with her is indeed Jesus, now wonderfully and gloriously alive. This can be our experience, too. When we take Jesus’s question seriously and share our response aloud with him, we, too, may come to experience his risen presence in the midst of our tears.
Easter people know what it means to cry. They also have personally come to know that one very important activity of the Spirit is to help us experience the risen Christ in the midst of our tears. May this be part of our Eastertide experience as well.
Experiment with your imagination in prayer today. Go with Mary to the tomb. Stand with her as she weeps. Watch the risen Jesus come and ask her his question. Listen to Mary as she answers. Now Jesus turns to you and asks you the same question. Respond to him from your heart. Listen to and watch for his response.