The resurrection story is the story of a journey from death to life–not only for Jesus the Christ but also for those who loved and followed him.
Jesus’ friend Mary is the first to the tomb, along with some other women disciples. She arrives at the tomb uncertain, and in the telling from the Gospel of Mark, leaves that place “trembling and bewildered.” At first, the Gospel says, they said “nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.” And yet the story must have leaked out, because we tell it again today. The story moved from the tomb of confused silence to the resurrection light of confident proclamation.
We also often find ourselves trembling and bewildered, silent and afraid. How can we move from the speechlessness of fear to the joyful speech of the good news? Maybe following Mary to the tomb can give us some ideas about how to take the journey ourselves from death to life. Like Mary and her friends, we can meet grief face-to-face, and to take the risks that challenge us in that encounter.
Mary was willling to meet grief face-to-face. Personally, she had witnessed the brutal torture and murder of her teacher, healer and friend. By tending to the tomb of her loved one, Mary was enacting one of the rituals of grief. At first, it might cause more sadness, but she had the wisdom to know that pausing to grieve was an important step on transformation’s path. How awful it must have been to face that terrible grief. But the good news is that no matter the grief, joy will come in the morning.
In her grief, Mary was also willing to take a risk. How scary it must have been for Mary and the other women to be there in the garden, before first light had come. There is so much that tells us to be afraid. But the good news is that the new life that Christ promises is greater than any fear.