April 14th

Jesus said to her, “Mary”. She turned round and held on to him.

First thing that morning, while it was still dark, Mary had come to the garden tomb to grieve for the loss of her teacher, her friend. But the tomb was open, the body gone. She had run back to tell Peter that Jesus’ body had been taken and then she’d watched as Peter and John ran out of the door.

Now she was back in the garden. Weeping. She looked into the tomb again. Two strangers were crouched in there. “Why are you weeping?” they asked. Stupid question – Jesus was dead, his body gone. Then the gardener asked the same question. What is it with these people?

Jesus said to her, “Mary”.

Was it the way he said her name? Had the tears begun to clear from her eyes? Was there something different about him? He speaks her name and Mary sees the risen Jesus. It’s the master, the Lord, raised to life again. Impossible. Astonishing. Glorious. Unbelievable?

It was not enough for Thomas to hear tales from other people. Not enough for Mary to see the empty grave clothes or to be addressed by angels. Mary needed to hear her name, see and touch the risen Jesus. For Mary it had begun with a single word.

Jesus said to her, “Mary”.

Do you hear him calling your name? A whisper in the imagination, a piece of music, a picture, a scene from a film, a stranger’s act of kindness. Listen. He has risen. He’s alive. Alleluia!

Ian Waddington