You Are Mary: The Meadow For Metaphor, 4

In "The Gospel According to John," Mary Magdalene comes alone and in the pre-dawn darkness. As in Mark and Luke (but contrary to Matthew), she arrives to find the stone already rolled away. The tomb is empty. This time there’s no guy in white, or two guys in white, or an angel. Nobody. And no body. Mary goes back and reports to Simon Peter and another disciple:
“They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have laid him” (20: 2)
Mary and the two disciples go back to the tomb and see nothing but
“the linen wrappings lying there, and the cloth that had been on Jesus’ head . . . rolled up in a place by itself.” (20: 6)
Then Simon Peter and the other disciple leave.
“But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying.” (20: 11-12)
The angels ask, “Why are you weeping?”

Mary answers that “They have taken my Lord, I don’t know where.”

Then she turns around and sees Jesus, but doesn’t recognize him:
“’Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?’ Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, ‘Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Mary!’ She turned and said to him in Hebrew, ‘Rabbouni!’ Jesus said to her, ‘Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, “I am ascending to my Father and your Father.”’” (20: 15-17)
The John story has a surreal, dreamlike quality quite different from the other three. In the surreal logic of John, bodies reanimate, yet wounds remain unhealed. It is a dreamlike realm, unconcerned with persecution from worldly powers.

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The resurrection is about you. You are Mary Magdalene. Jesus is also you: he’s the part of you that you thought was dead, the part of you "the authorities" thought needed to be exterminated.

What part of you seemingly has died and is laid in a tomb?

You go in the dawn to find your own missing part, to finalize its interment – only to discover it is not dead after all.

Are you stuck in a deadening job? Does it seem that the part of you that yearns for creative, rewarding contribution to the world lies dead? Are you stuck in a dysfunctional relationship? The part of you that would dance in celebration of love and connection and intimate play seems like a cold and motionless corpse?

What part of you has been persecuted, battered, shamed, humiliated? What part of you with its dying words asked, “Why have you forsaken me?” Arise on the morning of a new day, and go and look.

Of course, you will think, “my god, there’s no way I can roll back that stone.”


Go by yourself in the predawn dark. Go with a single friend. Go with two friends. Go with a group of supportive presences as the day dawns and the sunlight begins.

When you get there, you will see the stone obstacle you feared is rolled back. So look inside. Peer into the darkness of your interior. It’s empty. The part of you that you long for, the part you thought was dead, is not there in that place where dead things lie.

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This is part 4 of 5 of "The Meadow For Metaphor."
See also
Part 1: Four Easter Stories
Part 2: Who Have You Buried?
Part 3: Matt & Luke
Part 5: True Stories

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