Tuesday, April 6, 2010

How Would This Feel?

Jn 20:11-18
Mary Magdalene stayed outside the tomb weeping.

And as she wept, she bent over into the tomb
and saw two angels in white sitting there,
one at the head and one at the feet
where the Body of Jesus had been.
And they said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?”
She said to them, “They have taken my Lord,
and I don’t know where they laid him.”
When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus there,
but did not know it was Jesus.
Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping?
Whom are you looking for?”
She thought it was the gardener and said to him,
“Sir, if you carried him away,
tell me where you laid him,
and I will take him.”
Jesus said to her, “Mary!”
She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni,”
which means Teacher.
Jesus said to her, “Stop holding on to me,
for I have not yet ascended to the Father.
But go to my brothers and tell them,
‘I am going to my Father and your Father,
to my God and your God.’”
Mary went and announced to the disciples,
“I have seen the Lord,”
and then reported what he had told her.
I love this part of the Resurrection story.

It's Mary's worst nightmare being turned around into her greatest joy. I identify very deeply with Mary's emotions in this passage.

She can't move. She just sits at his tomb and weeps. But then, as she weeps, she bends over and looks into the tomb...and there are two angels sitting there! Not only does she see two angels, but they speak to her!

Personally, I find it odd that these angels asked her why she was crying. Um, I'm sitting here at a TOMB; isn't it obvious? And you're angels; aren't you supposed to have supernatural powers? But perhaps she needs to be asked what she is really grieving about, for her own sake, for clarity.

I imagine that she would be crying because he died, but she says she is crying because she doesn't know where he has been taken.

Then Jesus appears, and speaks to her, and she thinks he is a gardener. She mistakes her Lord for a laborer in the graveyard. Is he that much changed, or is her grief clouding her vision?

Again she is asked why she is weeping, and this time, also who she is seeking.

The love and longing in her simple request speaks volumes to me:  “Sir, if you carried him away, tell me where you laid him, and I will take him.” Oh, let me have his precious body back, please! The power of that physical longing, to be near the one who has gone!

And all he has to say is her name: "Mary." Spoken by his beloved voice; she hears her name and recognizes him at once.

Can you imagine what you would do? I would throw myself into his arms, I would grab him and hold him so tightly...but he says to Mary - one of his dearest friends - “Stop holding on to me..."

A new kind of relationship, a new kind of love - one that requires letting go. Oh, dear Lord, why do we have to do it this way? I've heard it said that it's so that You can be everywhere, anywhere, for all of us and with us. But it is so hard to stop holding on.


Smileygirl said...

This is so touching. Prayers for the process of letting go with as little pain as possible.


Amy said...

What beautiful words! I will continue to pray for you and beginning to 'let go'...it would be so hard to do...my prayers are with you!

Sheri said...

You made me tear up. Exactly so. It is so very, very hard. It is frightening to let go. It requires we believe beyond the words that we do. And it requires we ourselves transcend in a way others will not understand or relate to...that we ourselves must change. It is so very hard. And so very worth it.

Love to you friend. I hear you.

Elizabeth said...

I'm not sure how at all. I imagine that you have intimations, very strong ones, on how and that you know that and them and will. Peace to you.

Mary Potts said...

Hold on - Let go.
It just doesn't seem to line up correctly does it?

Oh Karen, I gulped my way through this beautiful post and happen to be in the middle of writing something rather similar. It seems some of us BRAVE mothers are on similar paths these days.

Angela said...

so profound...and beautifully written...love you

Karen said...

Your Easter posts were my favorite devotionals this year. You understand and are able to put the complex emotions of this time into such simple and eloquent terms. Thank you, Karen. You really must write a book- you help me so much and I know there are so many others who would benefit as well.

Busy Bee Suz said...

This is beautiful Karen...you just amaze me with your spirit and your strength.

drw@bainbridge.net said...

A beautiful meditation, and two incredibly beautiful photographs to bring it life. Thank you so much for this one...

deb said...

Oh, Karen
This made me cry.

It's true, but still....
blessings to you.