John 20, 10-18
Something to read
Then the disciples went away again unto their own home. But Mary stood without at the sepulchre weeping: and as she wept, she stooped down, and looked into the sepulchre, And seeth two angels in white sitting, the one at the head, and the other at the feet, where the body of Jesus had lain. And they say unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? She saith unto them, Because they have taken away my LORD, and I know not where they have laid him. And when she had thus said, she turned herself back, and saw Jesus standing, and knew not that it was Jesus. Jesus saith unto her, Woman, why weepest thou? whom seekest thou? She, supposing him to be the gardener, saith unto him, Sir, if thou have borne him hence, tell me where thou hast laid him, and I will take him away. Jesus saith unto her, Mary. She turned herself, and saith unto him, Rabboni; which is to say, Master. Jesus saith unto her, Touch me not; for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them, I ascend unto my Father, and your Father; and to my God, and your God. Mary Magdalene came and told the disciples that she had seen the LORD, and that he had spoken these things unto her.
King James Version
Then the disciples returned to their homes. 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, one at the head and the other at the feet. They said to her, 'Woman, why are you weeping?' She said to them, 'They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.' When she had said this, she turned round and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, 'Woman, why are you weeping? For whom are you looking?' 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!' (which means Teacher). 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, to my God and your God." Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, 'I have seen the Lord'; and she told them that he had said these things to her.
New Revised Standard Version
Something to think about
We are in the midst of the mystery of Easter morning. Already they have found only an empty tomb where there should have been a body. Mary lingers. And two times comes an obvious question: "Woman, why are you crying?" The first time she hears it on the lips of angels. The second time it is the gardener stopping by as he makes his morning round. But then...
Mary's world has already been shattered. Now, in the awesome simplicity of her name upon the lips of Jesus, her world is remade. Things are not as they were. Jesus is not as he was it seems for this gospel for Mary cannot touch him; he is in transit, here with her yet on his way back to his Father.
But this not touching also signals to Mary a change. He must be present for her now in a fresh way. The old relationship they had is transforming itself around resurrection and she cannot cling to him as once, perhaps, she did. She too is in transit. So are we if Easter is real.
Something to do
Google Titian's great painting of this moment which hangs in London's National Gallery. It's called "Noli Me Tangere," which means "Do not touch me." As Mary reaches out, Jesus draws away from her. Let this be your meditation for today. What has Easter done to remake your relationship with God this year?
Something to pray
Making all things new,
you call our names and we find the ordinary lit with heaven's glory.
Take this day,
and let it be filled with the echoes of heaven's chorus and the murmurs of angels.
Help us to know your presence in all we do and everyone we meet.
Help us to know, as Mary found, that you are risen,
and for ever.
Today's contributor is the Rev Neil Thorogood, Director of Pastoral Studies at Westminster College, Cambridge, and author of the Surefish.co.uk monthly prayers.