That’s what I thought when I read this story by my wife, DeDe.
It is powerful, full of insight, and written in the concise eloquent style of my wife.
With her permission, I am sharing it with you.
By DeDe Iles
My third Easter abroad.
There is strangeness to holidays spent in another culture and away from family. There is the expanse of time. There are none of the busy celebrations that take up our time.
No family dinner to share in preparation and attend. No special activities at the church to welcome others and share our joy. No need or opportunity for extra shopping and decorating. I must say that I truly miss these greatly. With the proper focus those can definitely be a part of worship.
But those things are not available; therefore I choose to contemplate the day.
Today I am considering the experience of Mary Magdalene.
There she is, Mary Magdalene. I think that even the disciples thought she was a nut case. After all she had at one time been possessed by seven demons. I question if anyone since Rahab, the lying prostitute that is praised for her faith, had been so unlikely to be the first to meet the risen Lord.
Here is what I love about Mary. She was so real! She was confused, frightened, and in desperate grief. She has come to do what she could to honor the dead. Never easy. She does not know how she is going to move the stone, but that does not stop her. Others are being careful about going out for fear of their own lives. Not Mary.
On Friday Mary had been at the cross. She watched. She felt the gripping hand of His mother. She heard the jeering of the crowd. She listened to the same words of forgiveness she had accepted now being granted to the ones that literally tore His flesh. She must have experienced the anguish of inner conflict when Jesus said, “My God, my God, why have You forsaken Me?”
But Mary hung on to Jesus. She stayed. Hurting and confused. Still she stayed there, loving Jesus.
Now death and burial have come and hope is gone. Mary is still there.
Mary is not at the tomb so she can ask Jesus for something. Mary is there simply because she loves Jesus. She is coming to express love and honor for him expecting nothing in return. She has come to serve out of devotion, pure devotion.
Matthew 5:8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”
The nut case and formerly demon-possessed woman named Mary had a pure heart on the first Easter morning. She saw God!
The God she loved more than safety, dignity, and the acceptance of others called her by name. Then Jesus said to her, “Tell them I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.”
Eternity together. Nothing between this brother and sister but love and forgiveness.
Jesus also gave Mary a command, “go to my brothers and say to them.”
I wonder if she even bothered to consider if they would believe her or not. She simply followed the commandment of Jesus not considering what others would think of her.
There are many lessons I want to learn about Mary:
- Don’t get over forgiveness
- Love Jesus: no matter what
- Serve Him for who He is, not what He can do for me
- Cherish that we are related for eternity
- Go tell the others that He is alive.