Imagine how it must have been for Mary, weeping outside the tomb, to then look into the tomb and see two angels sitting where the body of Jesus had been laid. Not an absence, but a presence – messengers from God; but they weren’t Jesus! And what anguish and grief there is in her words “They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him!”
Then, when she turned around, Jesus was there and Mary did not recognise Him. Her grief and anguish of spirit blinded her to what was actually happening around her. She had been ready to take away Jesus’ dead body. But then she heard her name “Mary” and knew who had spoken it. “Teacher! ” she responded. Imagine the shock, the joy! Jesus is alive!
Jesus sent her to tell the others, who, even after Mary had told them what (and who) she had seen, still locked themselves away for fear of the Jews. In the evening Jesus himself appeared to them in their locked room, and said “Peace be with you”, and showed them his hands and his side – a reality check! And he gave them the most precious gift of himself in the form of the Holy Spirit, the breath of God; the life of God in the world.
There is much happening in our world today that can bring us to the point of asking “Where is God?” or “Where is Jesus?” Our anguish of spirit may lead us to the point of locking ourselves away in our own little world, for fear of what might happen next. Fear of the unknown is built into us as a way of survival. But God’s call to us goes much deeper than our human instinct to survive and our fear. It is a call to redemption and freedom. Whatever locked doors we hide behind, Jesus can reach us. And when we let ourselves hear deeply Jesus’ words “Peace be with you” (with our name), then we too can experience the peace of God which passes all understanding, and brings freedom and new life.
Peace be with you! Jesus is alive. His Spirit is with us and dwells within us. Thanks be to God!
Rev Adelene Mills