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April 12

John 20, 10-18

Something to read

Then the disciples returned to their homes. But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; 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. 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.' When she had said this, she turned round and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, 'Woman, why are you weeping? For whom are you looking?' 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.' Jesus said to her, 'Mary!' She turned and said to him in Hebrew, 'Rabbouni!' (which means Teacher). 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." 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.
New Revised Standard Version

Something to think about

We approach the mystery of Easter morning. Already they have found only an empty tomb where there should have been a body. Mary lingers. And two times comes an obvious question: 'Woman, why are you crying?' The first time she hears it on the lips of angels. The second time it is the gardener stopping by as he makes his morning round. But then...

Mary's world has already been shattered. Now, in the awesome simplicity of her name upon the lips of Jesus, her world is remade. Things are not as they were. Jesus is not as he was, it seems for this gospel, for Mary cannot touch him; he is in transit, here with her yet on his way back to his Father.

But this not touching also signals to Mary a change. He must be present for her now in a fresh way. The old relationship they had is transforming itself around resurrection and she cannot cling to him as once, perhaps, she did. She, too, is in transit. So are we, if Easter is real.

Something to do

Google Titian's great painting of this moment, which hangs in London's National Gallery. It's called 'Noli Me Tangere', which means 'Do not touch me'. As Mary reaches out, Jesus draws away from her. Let this be your meditation for today. What has Easter done to remake your relationship with God this year?

Something to pray

Making all things new,
you call our names and we find the ordinary lit with heaven's glory.
Take this day,
and let it be filled with the echoes of heaven's chorus and the murmurs of angels.
Help us to know your presence in all we do and everyone we meet.
Help us to know, as Mary found, that you are risen,
and here,
and for ever.

Today's contributor is the Rev Neil Thorogood, Principal of Westminster College, Cambridge.


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