John 20:1-18 CEB
What happens when your leader, your teacher, your Messiah is killed? All the anticipation of what Jesus was capable of doing and it happened: he was crucified. The disciples were in a scary place. The people had called for blood and their thirst was not yet quenched. They did the only reasonable thing they could think of, they hid.
Then there was Mary.
On the day after the Sabbath, waiting the customary time period before visiting a dead loved one Mary began her trip to Jesus’ tomb in the pre-morning light. She couldn’t wait any longer. It was time to say goodbye. That was the strength of her love for the savior. Fear, or lack of sunlight, was not going to keep her away.
We are afraid to attach too much love to Mary Magdalene because our idea of love has implications. It is difficult to see it for what it was on that Sunday morning. Mary’s love was a deep devotion and self-sacrifice. She was putting her life at risk just to say goodbye. And what did she find? In the gray morning light she discovers no guards keeping watch, and the sealed tomb had been opened! Fearing some robber or perhaps the guards themselves had taken the body to inflict more punishment on it, she ran to the disciples Jesus was closest to: John and Peter. They go and see but give no comfort to Mary. She remains behind weeping.
Tears have magical properties. I bet you never knew that. I don’t mean supernatural magical properties. I mean magic in a way that magic actually exists, to trick us. To make us see something else instead of reality. Tears can literally warp our vision keeping us from seeing the whole truth. Tears can also keep our souls from seeing reality. This was true for Mary. We can say that love had blinded her but it was her preconceived ideas regarding the open tomb she was really blinded to. She had taken the most logical option to an open tomb and fell into depression. (Logically, the body had been stolen.) So, in the presence of angels she is not fearful or in awe because her tears had played a magic trick and she could not see the divine presence through the salty river covering her eyes. She could not see God’s awesome miracle beyond what she believed to be true. Even when Jesus stands before her she is still in the grip of the magic trick.
Have you ever heard the term ‘sunlight is the best disinfectant?’ I wish to take that one step further, S-O-N, Sonlight is the best disinfectant. Mary, even if it was only for a couple of hours, was not living in the truth. She was in the darkness. The truth was glorious and unbelievable! “Mary.” Just by saying her name her tears stop and the truth becomes clear- her savior lives! I believe it was her deep love that made her the first to share the resurrection story. While the other disciples hid, she yelled the truth, “I have seen the Lord!” While the others questioned, she accepted. Shout it from the mountain tops. Sing it in the streets. There is nothing to hide from. There is nothing to be ashamed of. Today we celebrate. Today we rejoice. Our savior lives!