The joy of Easter morning
Revd Gareth Reid encourages us all to follow the example of Mary Magdelene by making room in our busy lives for our risen Lord
Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb (John 20:1)
There are many possible reasons why Mary travelled so early that day. One reason is that it was quiet, and there was more chance of having peace, and quiet. Seeing fewer people was a positive thing as there would have been less opposition to her visiting the grave of a criminal. Also, this was Mary’s first chance for this journey. When Christ died on the Friday, the Sabbath was about to begin and the end of the sacred day would not come until sunset on Saturday night. Jews were not allowed to do anything like this on the Sabbath, and with all the emotion since Jesus’ death perhaps no-one wanted to go there anyway. Whatever the reason, we see Mary Magdalene travelling towards the grave of her teacher, her friend, the one whom she, and many others, hoped was the Messiah. She was not going for any other reason than to wait, to think, to remember Jesus. It seems that Mary was keen to answer the need in her spirit to be with her Lord once again. Of course, Mary did not foresee how true that fact would be.
The question that arises from Mary Magdalene’s experience and example is – how much like Mary are we in our faith when we celebrate Easter? Do we have a deep need in our being about this celebration? Do we wait to celebrate Christ’s resurrection (on Easter Day and throughout our lives?) If we are honest, do we look forward to the end of the Easter Festival? Of course, Easter is a day, and an occasion, important to us, but most of us will also see the time as a very busy one. After ministering in a number of occasions, activities and services over Lent, Holy Week and Easter, do we look forward to a rest? Do we only look towards the end of Easter, or are we able to look for periods of silence in the busy time?
As we look at Mary we see a faithful and intelligent person acting out her desire to be with Jesus by being still, quiet and watchful. Mary did not expect to see Jesus in the flesh again, but she accepted that blessing before anyone else.
If we make room for Jesus in the busy season of Easter (even if it is a ‘good’ busy time – church, worship etc.) perhaps we also will have the experience of a totally new Jesus. Will we ensure that our busy times do not come between us and Jesus? By making room for him, as did Mary Magdalene, our resurrected Lord will surprise us once again.