THE POWER OF A WORD
“I have seen the Lord!”
Can you imagine? Mary from Magdala watched him die a violent and tortuous death. He was dead. She saw his last breath. She witnessed his battered, broken, bloody body removed from the hateful cross. She followed the men who buried him so she would know where the tomb was. She, along with the group of women who had been in the group of faithful people from Galilee, returned to the burial place after the Sabbath to make sure his body was properly covered in the traditional spices and wrappings to hasten decomposition.
She arrived to the place, laden with aromatics, expecting the stench of a body at least 30 hours lifeless. She was troubled with the challenge of moving the rock that covered the tomb opening. Her heart was broken. She couldn’t see clearly through the tears in her eyes. She was honoring her Lord the best way she knew how, but her hopes were shattered and she couldn’t imagine any kind of future.
And then she got to the place where Jesus had been buried. The problem of the rock was solved; someone (or something) had already moved it. Perhaps the man who owned the new tomb had foreseen the need to properly wrap the body? She looked inside. His body was missing. Heartbreak after heartbreak. She reported what she saw to the disciples, and both Peter and John ran to verify what she said. It was true. The body was gone. Disconsolate, Mary stood near the tomb, weeping. Why would anyone move a dead body before the year of decomposition was over?
She took one last look into the empty space, and was greeted by two angels. So wrapped in grief that she couldn’t think to be afraid, she answered their question by repeating the thing foremost in her mind, “They have taken away my Lord, and I don’t know where they have laid him.” She turned to leave, and another questioner asked again, “Why are you weeping?” She gave the same answer, adding ,”if you know where he is, please take me there.”
And then the most beautiful word she had ever heard pierced her grief. “Mary,” Jesus said. Her name. The name that was once attached to her shame. The name that the Messiah had redeemed. Her name. “Mary,” was all he said. And it was enough.