When Mary got to the tomb, the stone was gone and the body was gone.
Mary ran to get Peter and John. The leader of the disciples and the new next-of-kin for Mary, the mother of Jesus. It was the right thing to do. But it didn’t solve the pain, especially when they arrived and confirmed her story and were just as confused and went back home. That’s what John tells us when he tells the story. “We went back home.”
Mary didn’t. Because Mary was still looking for answers, Mary was dealing with the loss of her Jesus and now the loss of the BODY of her Jesus.
Mary looked in again.
And now she saw angels, sitting in the empty cave.
“Why are you crying?” they ask. THEY know that there is no reason for sad tears, they know the whole story. But Mary doesn’t. With the single-minded focus of a grieving person on a mission, she has one question: “Where is his body?”
She’s not interested in explaining her tears, in stopping and taking a breath. Her question matters. It’s the one thing that is on her mind.
She turns to keep looking. She sees someone that she can’t recognize in her tears and in the dimness and in her pain-focused distraction.
“Why are you crying,” he said.
“Where have you taken him?” Mary assumes that this is the gardener, someone who might know. “Tell me where he is and I’ll go take care of the body.”
“Mary,” Jesus says.
And she suddenly realizes who she is talking to, who is in front of her. Where the body is. The living breathing talking body of Jesus is right in front of her.
“Teacher,” she says.
There are stories in three of the gospels about how others realize that he’s alive, how others realize what happened. Jesus tells stories for the next few weeks about what it all means, again. He reestablishes relationships, he offers direction, he talks to individuals and groups. He comes and goes as he wishes, but isn’t a ghost. He eats. He is touchable. He is alive.
But there is more to this story of Mary. Tomorrow.