Day 9 of the resurrection: Dear woman, why are you crying? John 20:13
This tender, non-judgmental question comes to Mary from the two angels. She has returned to the tomb, after having told the other disciples. The scriptures say she was broken and sobbing and when she stooped to peer inside the tomb, she saw the angels through her tears.
So much of Christianity has been laden with “should’s” and “shouldn’ts,” with pat answers and boxed views of life and God. At this point in my life, it simply makes me crazy.
Mary had a reason to cry. The angels knew why but they asked her so she could know why. They acknowledged her tears. So much like the Spirit. The Spirit who bends low and asks us why we cry or what is wrong, ever present to listen and to seek to comfort. The angels did not answer her. They let her reason for crying stand. This is how we honour each other’s human feelings.
We grieve in life and we celebrate when the answer to prayers as we wanted the answer to be comes through. But the greatest comfort is that Christ is alive and He is present with us in our lives through it all. The resurrection. I don’t know how to let it be enough but I want to. I want to turn, as Mary did, right in the middle of the tears and the question...turn and see Jesus alive.
I quote part of a liturgy out of Every Moment Holy entitled A Liturgy for those Who Weep Without Knowing Why
Jesus also wept.
So moved by the pain of this crushed creation, you, O Lord,
heaved with the grief of it, drinking the anguish like
water and sweating it out of your skin like blood.
Is it possible that you – in your sadness over Lazarus,
in your grieving for Jerusalem, in your sorrow in the garden –
is it possible that you have sanctified our weeping too?
For the grief of God is no small thing,
and the weeping of God is not without effect.
The tears of Jesus preceded a resurrection of the dead.
O Spirit of God, is it then possible that
our tears might also be a kind of intercession?
That we, your children, in our groaning
with the sadness of creation, could
be joining in some burdened work
of coming restoration? Is it possible that when
we weep and don’t know why, it is because
the curse has ranged so far, so wide? That
we weep at that which breaks your heart, because
it has also broken ours – sometimes so deeply that
we cannot explain our weeping,
even to ourselves?
If that is true,
then let such weeping be received, O Lord,
as an intercession newly forged of holy sorrow.
Then let our tears anoint these broken things,
and let our grief be as their consecration –
a preparation for their promised redemption,
our sorrow sealing them for that day when
you will take the ache of all creation,
and turn in inside-out,
like the shedding of
an old gardener’s glove.
O Lord, if it please you,
When your children weep and don’t know why,
yet use our tears
to baptize what you love.