Easter Sunrise

Mary’s Morning
John 20: 1-18

It was dark like it was when we started out this morning. Mary’s route wasn’t as steep but her grief was. Steep. She didn’t know where else to go and it seemed somehow like the last place they put Jesus was the first place she wanted to be.

So she set out walking alone on the new day. No sun, no company. Just that heavy grief and her thoughts. I wonder what was going through her mind. Or, was she still too numb to think?

When she got there the dawning light just barely gave some shape to the trees and the other tombs in the garden. Still no sun, but she could see clearly enough that there was a gaping hole where there ought to have been a boulder.

She jumped to her immediate conclusion. You know how it is, when you can’t see any other way and what you fear is the worst, so you just go ahead and assume it. Who would have done this? Wasn’t what they’d already done bad enough? Now they had to take all that was left? His poor, bloodied and beaten body? Couldn’t they have left that, at least?

She turned quickly and with purpose as soon as she saw that huge hole where the stone should have been. She walked much more quickly this time, grief moving to the back, anger and fear taking over up front. Just wait until she told the others!

When she got back to the house, the words were barely out of her mouth before Peter and the other disciple ran off, back toward the garden. Thanks for waiting for me, guys! By the time she’d caught up both of them were coming up out of that tomb. The sun was shooting its first rays through the trees. It was a bit like it is here, now. Peter and the other one brushed past her with the strangest expressions on their faces. Well, some help they were, she thought. We still don’t know why they’ve done this, or who, or where they’ve taken him.

Standing there at the edge of the tomb, Mary caught a glimpse of something white inside. Angels?! Why would they bother to ask her why she was crying? Which she was, of course. Couldn’t they see how badly this had all gone? Couldn’t they fly around and look for Jesus?

Someone came up behind her and she turned from the tomb to the garden, now bathed in the morning’s light. It was the gardener and he also asked her why she was crying. He said, “Who are you looking for?”

At last someone who might be willing to help! Mary launched in, talking as fast as she could…Did you take him, sir? Tell me where he is and I’ll take care of him now.



It was as simple as that, really. What started off as yet another morning engulfed by grief and worry, cleared away at the sound of her name on his lips. That was the instant she knew who he was. That was the instant she knew who she was.

Have you been there? Heard your name called in such a way that you knew exactly what you were meant to do? Known someone so well that just in the way they spoke your name you knew what they meant? That’s what happened to Mary.

And once she knew that much, she was free to let him go and free to go proclaim all the wonders she’d witnessed. And that was all she wanted anymore, to tell the story. “I have seen the Lord” (v.18). People all the way back to town heard her saying it, over and over, to everyone she passed. The disciples couldn’t get her to stop. “I have seen the Lord.”

It’s a simple story, really. Mary was just the first one freed. The sun rose for us today, too. God’s son rose. Now it’s our story to tell, too. We have seen the Lord! God’s calling our names. Can you hear it on the wind? Thanks be to God!

© 2009 Deborah E. Lewis