A prayer for Easter

One of my favorite Bible stories is that of Mary Magdalene at the empty tomb. Her grief still fresh and sharp, a visit to Jesus’ burial site promises a private space to mourn. Yet when Mary arrives, the stone has been rolled away. The perfume still lingers, but the grave is empty, save for a couple angels. They ask her why she weeps.

“They have taken away my Lord,” Mary sobs. She notices a nearby gardener and begs him for answers. Then, and this is what makes my heart catch every time, the supposed gardener — Jesus — calls Mary by name. She hears his tender voice, turns to him and cries out, “Rabbouni!” Jesus is alive. Mary runs to spread the news.

This moment at the tomb defies all logic and reason and sense. Yet I cling to the resurrection promise because I need Jesus — the master gardener whose radical, inclusive love grows new life — alive in my heart today.

If we listen and look closely, signs of the resurrection abound: in the verdant moss covering a fallen tree trunk, the friend who calls us by name and hoists us out of depression, in all our endings that offer a fresh beginning. God, give me eyes for Easter now and all my tomorrows. Alleluia. Amen.

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