John 20: 11-18 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?” Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.” Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni” (which means “Teacher”).
Since March, when everyone’s lives were changed with the advent of the coronavirus pandemic, many people have felt as Mary Magdalene felt on finding an empty tomb where Jesus’s body was supposedly laid: something dearly loved has been lost. If asked why we are sad or crying, we might answer, “They have taken my ____ away!”
It may be a beloved job, the ability to travel, time with family and friends, opportunities for fun, such as bowling or eating out. Whatever it is we believe that we have lost to the virus, I think that we can identify with the sense of helplessness that we can palpably feel in Mary Magdalene’s tears and fears.
But, as the scriptures above demonstrate, often we may not know that what we are seeking to find may be right in front of us or not lost at all. Yes, this time has been devastating to the economy and to our sense of any control over our lives, especially for individuals who have lost their loved ones. I do not mean to diminish the impact that this pandemic has had on everyone, and continues to do so.
Yet, it has also been a time when many have come to realize that we had started to rely on ourselves and not on our Savior and our God, Jesus Christ. But, He is still the Source of the peace and love and joy that our souls hunger and thirst for and seek to find in a world in which we simply don’t know what tomorrow holds.
He knows us by name, just as he knew Mary Magdalene. I can hear Him calling your name and my name, and I can feel His compassion for us, for He knows what we are crying about and what we are seeking to find, particularly our need and hope for a semblance of normality to return soon.
Let’s remember the promises made in Matthew 6:30-34, “So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.”