Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot. They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?”
“They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.”
At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus. He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”
[John 20: 11–15]
We often think of Good Friday as a day of sadness and Holy Saturday as a time of reflection before the joy of Easter Sunday. We recognise the joy of the resurrection and all that it means, yet that first Easter day was not a joyful or exciting experience for those who lived through it! They were upset, confused and afraid. They were upset that their friend had died; they were confused – and possibly angry – that their friend’s body had be stolen from the tomb; and finally, when the rumours started that Jesus had been seen alive, or that angels had told people that Jesus was risen from the dead, they were terrified! What did it mean? Was there a ghost? Was there a mistake? Was it a conspiracy? Would soldiers be coming to them to look for the body?
In the above passage from John’s gospel, we find that Mary is asked twice why she is crying. Her reaction is not joy, but sorrow. Many of us this Easter may find that we can understand how Mary feels. It is a time of joy, Jesus is risen, halleluiah! Yet we are still in lockdown, many of us still separated from our loved ones, many have been unable to return to worship – and those who have still find themselves separated and unable to sing. I hope that if you don’t feel fully joyful this Easter for whatever reason, you don’t feel bad about it: the first people who experienced it weren’t joyful either.
we praise and thank you for the joy of the resurrection;
we thank you that you gave your all to be reunited with us.
Help us to recognise and accept our own emotions this day –
the positive and the negative.
Fill us with hope for the future,
love for you and our neighbours.
May we feel joy within our other feelings
and appreciate all you have given us.