…Mary stood outside the tomb weeping. As she wept, she knelt to look into the tomb and saw two angels sitting there, dressed in white, one at the head, the other at the foot of where Jesus’ body had been laid. They said to her, “Woman, why do you weep?”
“They took my Master,” she said, “and I don’t know where they put him.” After she said this, she turned away and saw Jesus standing there. But she didn’t recognize him.
Jesus spoke to her, “Woman, why do you weep? Who are you looking for?”
She, thinking that he was the gardener, said, “Mister, if you took him, tell me where you put him so I can care for him.”
Jesus said, “Mary.” John 20:11-16 (The Message)
I know, Easter was last weekend, but I’m still spending some time with Mary Magdalene, standing in front of that empty tomb. I enter into her world. First of all, imagining the horror of watching my Lord beaten and hung on the cross where he dies a tortuous death. And then, experiencing the panic of going to the tomb and discovering the stone has been rolled away and his body is missing. Finding only discarded linens lying there, the kerchief used to cover his face neatly folded and set to the side. I run with her to tell the men. They come, discover her words are true. And then they go home. Leaving me and Mary alone.
I weep with her, even though, unlike Mary, I know the end of the story. I don’t have to wait for the gardener, who really is Jesus, to call me by name and open my eyes to the miraculous end of the story, which is resurrection. I know the story too well. Or do I?
I stand today in front of that empty tomb, as a mother of a 30-year-old son with autism, and listen more deeply to the familiar story. And as I listen, Jesus asks me these questions:
Kathy, why do you weep?
What are you looking for?
My body, dead and wrapped in linens
or my body, risen from the dead?
What do you see in this empty tomb?
or resurrection power?
or unleashed life?
or someone who calls you by name?
Darkness and mourning
or light and celebration?
All these thoughts tumble as I stand in front of that empty tomb, the linen cloths lying there like a discarded cocoon.
Why do we weep?
Daily, these are questions I must ask myself—choices I must make in the way I view this world with autism.
Am I open to the seemingly impossible? To the truly miraculous?
Am I open to day-to-day transformation? For myself, for my son, for my family?
The empty tomb holds the answers.
What do you choose as you look into the empty tomb?