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Mary Magdalene's Story - Chorlton Central Church

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Mary Magdalene's Story


It was still dark when I got up that morning.
Too early, really, for me to make my preparations - the Sabbath laws prevented it -  but sleep evaded me.
The waiting was unbearable.
I had to go, to go to him with my oils and spices to soothe his broken, bruised body.

As I made my way there was a faint glimmer in the sky. Dawn was coming.

My footsteps lightened and quickened.
The bare rock of the garden, yet to be warmed by the sun, felt cold and hard, and the edge of my cloak was dampened with dew.

The darkness began to lift. A silvery grey light was spreading and I could make out tiny flowers in the crevices.
There in front of me was the tomb, and I could see only too well that there was a gaping gash at the entrance where the stone should have been.

I stopped in my tracks, confused and scared.

Gathering up my cloak and my courage, I stepped forward and looked inside.

The body was not there. My oils and spices, redundant now, fell from my hand and rolled onto the grass.
Terror-struck, I ran. Peter was not far behind me. Seeing my anguish, he ran to the tomb and went in. No sooner was he in than he was out again, running once more, back home.
In the terror and the grief, I was hardly aware of his going.

I stood and wept at the sight of the tomb - cold, empty, like a barren womb where hopes go unfilled and love lies bleeding.
Tears were bitter and hot on my cheeks.
Why was I robbed of this one final act of love that might have brought some healing?

Then I sensed something. The tomb was not empty. What was this? A trick of the light?

The voice startled me.   "Why are you crying?"

Scared and confused again, my answer trembled out  "Because - because they have taken him away and I don't know where he is."

Then something else drew my attention away from the tomb, to the garden.
My heart pounding, my mind racing : was it the grave robbers come back for more desecration?

I turned to face whoever was there.

The first shafts of light were falling on to the bare rock of the tomb.
The darkness almost gone, I could have seen him clearly had it not been for the tears.

I sensed more than saw a gentleness about him.

No robber, surely. The gardener, maybe, or grave tender.

Then that question again.   "Why are you crying?"
Why ask that? Was it not right and proper to mourn the death of someone you love?

"His body is gone. I don't know where he is. I must go to him. I must see him again."

The sun was coming up. The grey dimness had lifted.

The dawn had come.

Then he spoke once more, and I caught my breath, hardly daring to believe, as he said my name with a familiar and tender strength.
I reached out to touch and to hold, then recoiled in shock, fresh tears brimming, as he backed away.

His eyes met mine, and his words were gentle and compelling. "Go and tell the others."

Then, in the dawning of understanding, I stood up.

He had given me back my identity, my purpose.

I had to go.

Death itself had been denied. Hope had been re-born.

The dawn had come, and I had a message to give.

© Revd Sarah Brewerton - April 2015

new page 4 April 2015

An Open and Inclusive Baptist & URC Church
in South Manchester, UK
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