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Today we celebrate St Mary Magdalene.
John 20.1-2, 11-18
The Resurrection of Jesus
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. 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.’
Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalene
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.
Throughout school and university I was pretty much always known as ‘Price’. When I started work, things were a little more relaxed and suddenly I was being called Nigel, even in formal situations. Something a little like that change happens here. Up to now God has been ‘the father’ or ‘my father’ and the followers of Jesus were ‘servants, disciples or friends’. Now suddenly they are referred to as ‘brothers’ and it is ‘my father and your father’. This is a new relationship and the disciples are being called into a new world, much as I found myself in a new world all those years ago. Now they can know God and be intimate children with him.
And as this happens, Mary stands there, weeping. Perhaps something in the news this week has caused you to weep. Think back to it. Stand there with Mary and cry those tears again, together. Don’t be hasty, but savour the moment. Bend down to look into that empty tomb with her. And then the surprise, be comforted as Jesus speaks to you; calls you by your name. Tell him why you are weeping and listen to him as he speaks. Feel his healing power as it brushes over you on its way to that situation that preys on your mind. And know that you have just made a very small but significant change in the world.
And so we pray the Collect for St Mary Magdalene:
whose Son restored Mary Magdalene to health of mind and body
and called her to be a witness to his resurrection:
forgive our sins and heal us by your grace,
that we may serve you in the power of his risen life;
who is alive and reigns with you,
in the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God,
now and for ever. Amen