We are pondering Mary Magdalene’s encounter with the risen Christ. First she saw that the stone was moved, something was different that caught her attention. Life was not as expected. Then an angel tells her that Jesus is risen. But she does not comprehend what that means. Will life return to normal like with Lazarus? Will Jesus be all disfigured by his flogging and crucifixion? Where is he? She runs and tells the disciples that the body is missing but they do not believe her. She returns with Peter and John who see for themselves the body is missing but no one understands. Peter and John leave but Mary lingers and hears a voice behind her and turning, sees Jesus and hears her name, “Mary.” He is alive and is real and not a vision. He tells her not to hold on to him but to “Go and tell my brothers and sisters.”
The resurrection is about life, my life, but it is also about community. Here we have the first indication that the crucifixion that paid “for my sins”, that ended the separation between God and his creation, that showed that death does not have the final say, that affirms to us that Jesus will ”walk with us through the valley of the shadow of death,” is also going to result in the building of the kingdom of people who want to follow Jesus. “Go and tell” are her marching orders and ours. Yes we rejoice. Yes we look forward to heaven and the afterlife, reunion with those who have gone before. And yes, now our prayers are personal and not always formal nor necessarily presented through a representative like a priest. And yes, we no longer need to take animal sacrifices to the temple. But something more is about to be formed.
So many things happen in the encounter with the risen Christ. We see life in a new way. We hear our name spoken by God. We begin to touch eternity. Perhaps the flowers even smell sweeter than before. A God encounter is a three dimensional experience that touches all our senses so we know it is real. We know in the core of our being that the resurrection is real. But it is not just about me. It is also about you. The good news must be shared. It cannot be contained. Mary was charged with returning to the disciples who would not necessarily believe her this time but her first task was to share the love she had just received. Easter season is dedicated to sharing the good news found in the stories of the risen Christ. Who might you share with today? Who needs to hear the good news that they are loved, just as they are in the midst of their confusion and doubts? I did.