John 20:1-18

1Early 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. 

2So 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.’ 

3Then Peter and the other disciple set out and went towards the tomb. 4The two were running together, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 

5He bent down to look in and saw the linen wrappings lying there, but he did not go in. 

6Then Simon Peter came, following him, and went into the tomb. He saw the linen wrappings lying there, 7and the cloth that had been on Jesus’ head, not lying with the linen wrappings but rolled up in a place by itself. 

8Then the other disciple, who reached the tomb first, also went in, and he saw and believed; 9for as yet they did not understand the scripture, that he must rise from the dead. 

10Then the disciples returned to their homes.

11But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb.

As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; 12and 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. 

13They 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.’ 

14When she had said this, she turned round and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. 

15Jesus 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.’ 

16Jesus said to her, ‘Mary!’

She turned and said to him in Hebrew, ‘Rabbouni!’ (which means Teacher). 

17Jesus 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.”’ 

18Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, ‘I have seen the Lord’; and she told them that he had said these things to her.

Raphael Resurrection of Christ 1499-1502

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This passage is a lot like life. There is so much running around, so much chaos and confusion. No one really knows quite what is going on or what is really the right thing to do. There is a lot of sadness and “weeping”. There is mistaken identity, false accusation, and an aching sense of loss.

This is the world we inhabit. It is no wonder that at times this world feels an uncomfortable place to be.

But, it is in the midst of this chaos that a moment of clarity suddenly dawns. It comes from the utterance of a single word: “Mary”. Perhaps it was more the sound of the voice, or the look in the eye of the speaker, but that one word awakened in Mary an awareness of a deeper reality beneath the confusion on the surface.

It seems significant that it is in the speaking of her name that Mary suddenly comes to awareness. Her name conveyed a recognition of her true identity. The speaker knew her and, in the sound of Jesus’ voice and the presence of his spirit, she suddenly knows again who she truly is. She comes to herself and in that awakening she recognizes the power of love and light that transcends the grave.

For a moment, Mary attaches this awareness to the physical presence of Jesus. But, she will come to see that the truth of this encounter is an inner transformation the impact of which she will carry with her throughout her life. The presence she met in the garden lived in her heart. The resurrected life she saw in the Christ was the life she came to live in her journey through this world.

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What practices help me stay in touch with my true identity? Where do I hear my true name uttered? What supports my awareness of that presence that is the true meaning of my life?

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As we conclude this journey of “Living Lent”, I know that one of the answers to that last question is each of you. Your faithfulness, your openness, your desire to grow and learn all support “my awareness of that presence that is the true meaning of our lives.”

Thank you for walking with me through these days. Thank you for your faithfulness and desire to open to the gentle working of God’s Spirit.

God bless you and keep you, in the truth and beauty of Christ who is your true and radiant self,

Christopher

Resurrection of Christ Raphael (1499-1502)