The Empty Tomb

Holy Saturday 15th April
John 20:15-16
Supposing him to be the gardener she said to him:
Tell me where you have laid him.
Then Jesus said to her: “Mary”.
She turned and said “Teacher!”

They came away from the tomb grieving,
only to find him unexpectantly on the garden path.
Sometimes we may feel as if we are praying in an empty tomb,
it may be later that the Lord becomes present.
– Abbot Guerric of Igny

My favourite resurrection story is Mary Magdalen’s
encounter with the Risen Lord in John’s Gospel.
Unlike the others,
Mary was willing to linger at the empty tomb
and not rush away.
As a result she saw what she supposed to be the gardener,
who asked who she was seeking.
She told him, and asked if he knew where they had put him.
The gardener then spoke her name
and instantly she recognised the Risen Lord.
For me this is a beautiful parable of prayer,
as Abbot Guerric points out in today’s quote.
How often when we settle to pray
does it feel like we are sitting in an empty tomb;
we want to feel or sense God’s presence
but our prayer feels empty.
It is often later in the day or week
that we encounter the living Christ
in something that happens or something we experience.
But would we have encountered Christ
in that event or experience
if we had not been prepared to sit in an empty tomb?
It is not always in our times of prayer
that we encounter God’s closeness to us;
It is often later, like Mary,
that we have an unexpected encounter with the Living God.

A Language You Once Knew by Dorothy Walters
There will be an invitation
It will not come tied in ribbons
Nor a message streaming down
From the sky.

There will be no Roman candles
Nor bright colours
Exploding overhead.

Instead there will be a soft
In your ear
Something in a language
You once knew
And are trying to learn again.

In order to hear it
You will need to
Put down all your packages
Stop everything you are doing
And stand very still
Then wait….
Until something stirs inside.