Jesus said to her, “Mary!” She turned and said to him in Hebrew, “Rabbouni!” 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. - John 20:16-18
One of the enduring mysteries is what actually happened 2,000 years ago on that morning we now call Easter. We have four narrators: Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. They all agree that Jesus really died. But then they diverge. Mark says the women found an empty tomb and ran away terrified, and never told a soul. Matthew and Luke have slightly more optimistic accounts of Jesus coming alive again, walking, talking. John has the most to say about the resurrection, with Jesus showing his wounds to Thomas. One story, four different endings. Maybe the Gospel writers came up with four different endings because they were doing their best to comfort a people who needed hope. We know about needing hope. Life is beautiful. But life is also very hard. Some years are years of Good Fridays that leave us broken and broken-hearted. The Gospel narrators knew there were other versions of the story. They even borrowed from each other, like a cup of sugar between neighbors, a story just as sweet. The authors didn’t care that their Easters were different. They experienced Easter each in their own way. They weren’t trying to write endings. They were writing beginnings. Easter is not a history lesson with a tidy ending, but an invitation to look past death in all its disguises. After every death, new things get born. Your story is not over. You are a resurrection in progress, still becoming. You may sometimes have a year of Good Fridays, but Easter will always arrive.
Prayer: God, I thought I was at the end. But you’re just beginning a new story in me. Write the first word.