A brief story.
The story of Mary of Magdala encountering the risen Christ in the gospel of John has a special significance to me on a very personal level.
Somewhere in the early 70s (’70 or ‘71 perhaps?)–my father received a phone call from his sister.
“Park? Dad has died.”
I remember the rushing back and forth, loading everything into the car and driving that evening into Oklahoma to my grandfather’s place.
The lights were on, several cars were parked outside.
My parents got out of the car and we three boys struggled with the luggage behind them. When my dad entered the doorway, he stopped dead in his tracks: frozen.
We tried to get around him, but he wasn’t moving.
Finally after a moment, he moved aside and we nearly fell in. We looked up.
There was my grandfather sitting in his easy chair, talking and visiting with those who had gathered.
Remember, we spent the entire day gearing up to the fact our grandfather died. In those days, we went to every funeral. Period. Even though we were children, we knew what death meant. We knew what it was. We had been grieving.
But there he was–alive.
It turns out the phone reception hadn’t been terribly good and my aunt had said, “Park, Ed has died” (their brother, Ed)–not “Dad”.
I’ll never forget that moment of shock and confusion and that feeling of something else for a second, just a second: awe.
Back to Mary. She knows Jesus is dead. She wasn’t like the other disciples who fled. She and the other women stuck with him until he died. She watched it all.
And if anyone was unclear, a Roman soldier ran a spear through him just to make certain.
So on the third day, in the early morning by the tomb, when Jesus says, “Mary”–I have an inkling of something she might have felt.
When he says “Mary,” she reacts. She knows that voice.
When she hears that voice say her name–everything changed, for her and for the world.
So, I won’t make some big application here. Just telling the story. I’ll let you draw your own conclusions.
Resurrection Sunday is in the morning!