But. For those of us in this hospital on this Easter morning, there is something else about this Mary story.
Death didn’t disappear. Followers of Jesus were themselves crucified. Others fell ill and died of whatever diseases moved through Jerusalem. The good news this morning is not that all illness is abolished, that everything we ask for will happen.
And I understand the people who say, “If I pray and God doesn’t fix things, I’m not going to trust God.” I understand that feeling.
But I’m not going to let you believe that your frustration with God means that God doesn’t exist. God’s apparent unwillingness to do what we want God to do doesn’t mean God ignores us or hates us. The healing of some people for the short-term and others not at all doesn’t mean that some people are nicer.
There is not a one-to-one correspondence between the resurrection of Jesus and what happens to our bodies in the hospital.
But. For those of us in this hospital on this morning, there is something else. There is this.
When Mary was at her most frantic moment, Jesus asked her, “why are you crying.”
Not in a scolding way, not in a judgmental way, not in a mocking way. In a personal way.
Jesus is constantly asking, “why are you crying?” “What is your pain? What, deep down, do you want.” He invites us to acknowledge our fear, our lostness.
And when she had answered his question, Jesus spoke her name. He acknowledged who she was, that she was. He let himself be recognized. And Mary acknowledged who he was, that he was.
He didn’t give her answers, he didn’t give her time, he didn’t walk with her in alone in the garden. He gave her an assignment. He sent her off.
She went to find Peter again. Eventually, Peter understood, and he preached often about Jesus, about the days of his life and the day of his death, and the day of his resurrection and the delight and the calling to tell others that he is alive.
Which is what I do. But on this day, for those who ache, I offer this.
Be honest about what you are looking for. Why are you crying?
And then listen for your name. I’m confident you will hear it. Whether in the voice of a friend or a chaplain or in the dark, Jesus knows your name.
When you hear it. When you realize that in those really dark moments you hear Jesus say your name, say “yes” to him.
You may not get answers. But you will know that the still risen and living Jesus knows who you are and where you are. And is standing with you.