EASTER DAY: John 20:1-18
John 20:1-18 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)
The Resurrection of Jesus
20 Early on the first day of the week,
while it was still dark,
Mary Magdalene came to the tomb
and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb.
2 So she ran
and went to Simon Peter
and the other disciple,
the one whom Jesus loved,
and said to them,
“They have taken the Lord out of the tomb,
and we do not know where they have laid him.”
3 Then Peter and the other disciple
set out and went toward the tomb.
4 The two were running together,
but the other disciple outran Peter
and reached the tomb first.
5 He bent down to look in
and saw the linen wrappings lying there,
but he did not go in.
6 Then Simon Peter came,
and went into the tomb.
He saw the linen wrappings lying there,
7 and the cloth that had been on Jesus’ head,
not lying with the linen wrappings
but rolled up in a place by itself.
8 Then the other disciple,
who reached the tomb first,
also went in,
and he saw and believed; 9
for as yet they did not understand the scripture,
that he must rise from the dead.
10 Then the disciples returned to their homes.
11 But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb.
As she wept,
she bent over to look into the tomb;
12 and she saw two angels in white,
sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying,
one at the head
and the other at the feet.
13 They said to her,
“Woman, why are you weeping?”
She said to them,
“They have taken away my Lord,
and I do not know where they have laid him.”
14 When she had said this,
she turned around and saw Jesus standing there,
but she did not know that it was Jesus.
15 Jesus said to her,
“Woman, why are you weeping?
Whom are you looking for?”
Supposing him to be the gardener,
she said to him,
“Sir, if you have carried him away,
tell me where you have laid him,
and I will take him away.”
16 Jesus said to her, “Mary!”
and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni!”
(which means Teacher).
17 Jesus said to her,
“Do not hold on to me,
because I have not yet ascended to the Father.
But go to my brothers and say to them,
‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father,
to my God and your God.’”
18 Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples,
“I have seen the Lord”;
and she told them that he had said these things to her.
This story was filmed in the Gallagher Chapel in Grosvenor House, Belfast Central Mission’s headquarters in Belfast.
FILM CREDIT: Danny Meegan
A couple of years ago I wrote a piece called “The Advent Crack” exploring the images of a time when heaven and earth collided, humans had a glimpse into the “thin places”
and a baby was born in Bethlehem.
Yesterday, Easter Saturday, on a day of Easter waiting I wrote “The Easter Crack”.
I hope you find it helpful.
The rumbling began.
The beginning of the end of the beginning.
The culmination of the earthly life of God in human form.
Angel sentinels, tense and impatient.
Ready to go.
At earthly noon
They opened the crack.
Silently winging between heaven and earth.
An inky blanket of shadowy darkness
Stretched and billowing between them.
Dropped over and settling on Golgotha and Jerusalem.
Covering the whole grisly, horrible scene.
Enveloping the characters in the story
Stopping them in their tracks.
Tick, tick, tick, one o’clock.
A loud cry coming from the depths of his being.
He can be silent no longer.
Eli, Eli, lema sabachthani?
Tick, tick, tick, two o’clock.
Taunting and derision and sour wine offered.
Laboured breathing and searing pain.
Eerie silence and mindless chatter.
Tick, tick, tick, three o’clock.
Then, a final cry and a final breath.
He. Breathed. His. Last.
A divine soul leaving a man’s body.
And then through the “thin places”
All heaven broke loose!
Holy temple curtain ripped in two and the earth shook.
Unbreakable rocks split.
Graves opened, and saintly bodies raised!
And for those who were witnesses
All doubt is gone.
“Truly this man is God’s son”
Sunday dawns and the crack is still open.
Mary Magdalene, grieving
Arrives at his resting place.
But he’s not there and the stone is gone.
He hasn’t been there for some time.
He’s moved to the “thin place”.
“Why are you weeping?”
Ask the angel sentinels.
Wondering at her tears.
Eyes full of tears.
Out of focus.
She doesn’t see. She doesn’t see
What’s in front of her
What’s behind her
Tears spilling, “Why are you weeping?”
Tears flooding, “Whom are you looking for?”
She says, “Please tell me where have you laid him?”
His voice cuts through her grief
And pierces her soul.
Just one word
One. Single. Word
That started a revolution of resurrection news.
- I WONDER if I had been at the cross and had the eyes to see into the “thin places”, what would I have seen that day?
- I WONDER where there armies of angels standing guard over the cross?
- I WONDER where God the Father and God the Spirit were? I had never thought about this before but I think they were there and went through it with God the Son. What do you think?
- I WONDER who the saints were who were raised that day and what did they look like and who did they appear to?
- I WONDER without our hindsight, knowing what we do about Jesus resurrection, how Jesus disciples felt when they saw there was no body in the tomb that Easter Day? And what did Mary think when she he appeared to her?
- IF I WAS MARY, HOW would I live differently now that Jesus is alive again? What difference would it make to my life?