Michael Ramsden is very thought provoking. “When Mary thought she was asking for too much, she was actually asking for too little!” She was asking for a corpse to clean while she had the resurrected Christ to comfort her.
That gives new depths of meaning to His questions, Woman, why weepest thou? Whom seekest thou? Who we seek will answer why we weep. If we seek only a corpse, we’ll weep for sorrow. If we seek a living Lord, we can weep for joy!
And for more reasons than just the one we’ve come to mourn.
Gerard Manley Hopkins explained to little Margaret who was too young to understand why the falling leaves were making her cry, “It is the blight man was born for – it is Margaret you mourn for!”
Every death reminds us on some level of the death we’re most concerned about. Some of the tears we shed are for ourselves. But are we shedding them for sorrow alone? Not if we’re seeking the One Mary discovered!
I’ve often said, I don’t mind death so much – I just don’t want it to be permanent! And every Easter reminds us that death is a bee without a sting.
People sometimes quote a movie line, “Dying’s just part of living.” And I understand that what they really mean is that death’s just part of the reality of life in this world. But we never acclimate to it – we mourn it to the end.
Because dying is not really part of living at all – it’s the very opposite. It was never meant to be any part of the reality of our world. Neither sin nor death are our true state – our original state. Nor are they our ultimate destiny.
And Mary was the first one to witness this. At first, she couldn’t see it through her tears. But something in the way He said, Mary, cleared the tears from her eyes! And the Gardener she found was not the one she expected! It seems right that the curse of the first Adam’s failure in Eden should be canceled by the last Adam’s victory at the Garden Tomb.
And because it was, even in the midst of uncertain times, the followers of Christ do not have to weep for sorrow alone. Of course, we’ll miss those who’ve departed. But it’s not like others with no hope. We know it’s only temporary. So some of our tears are for joy – not only for those who’ve gone ahead, but for us who will follow as well.