I walk out to the garden and as I enter the wooden gate, Mary stands to attention. She looks anxious to talk and her arms are extended for me. As we sit together to settle in, I remain silent. Her eyes look as if she is watching a star burst through the horizon. I’m not quite sure what to do so I sit at attention and wait for her words.
That morning, I took my time walking to the burial tomb. The jars of ointments were heavy and so was my heart. I was startled when I looked up and the rock of the tomb was pulled away. When I walked in I saw him. He was sitting on the rock ledge, he was…well, his “form” was sitting there.
I was rapt, watching Mary’s expression and hearing her first person account. She was looking into the distance and not blinking. Her eyes were twinkling and I actually looked out where she was gazing at one point, to see if I could capture something.
He was there! My rabbani was sitting there! He was white-like a ghost or an angel-but he was there! He was as alive as anyone could be, but there was no body. I talked to him. He said he was getting ready to be with his father. When I went forward to reach out for him, he put his hand out to keep me back. He said not to touch him. He said the kingdom was preparing his way. Then we were both silent for a moment.
Mary breaks her vision and stares at me. She had this look on her face as if to say, “Don’t you see?!”
Mary, continues excited:
It all came together!
She flashes a look back at me:
I knew the cross couldn’t be the end! And the stories, all his teachings..this added a whole new meaning to all the teachings! The cross wasn’t the end; it was a whole new beginning! That our world would change forever-for all of us! I wanted to spread the word, to go tell the others. But I also didn’t want to leave.
She returns back to the horizon:
He said, tell the others they will see me again. That each has a role to play. Including me. Tell them the scriptures are complete and to look anew! I remember I was full of so much joy that I got down on my knees, and cried! But then I quickly realized there was work to be done, so I got back up and began to rush away. Jesus said, “Wait!” and he warned me that I needed to leave. That I may be in danger. I knew what that meant, so I left the jars and ran back. To tell the others.
Mary, takes a moment as her gaze begins to drift down:
I remember everyone reacted so differently. Some in disbelief. It was…chaotic. Peter just stared at me, listening, and then left for the cave. I backed out while they argued.
The sparkle in her eyes returned:
I want you to share with your people that this is the good news! Jesus paved the way for all of us. There is no more heart break! But first, people must find it in their own hearts to unburden themselves. Forgive themselves because Jesus has already forgiven them. That’s what the cross did…it freed all of us! Leave your burdens at the foot of the cross where they belong and see the light. I never looked back and neither should you. This is the way. See the good in others. See the good in yourself. Open your heart and hear what it has to say.
The more I listened to Mary the more I became convinced. Her excitement was contagious.
Suddenly her demeanor shifts and she becomes serious. She picks up both of my hands, looks into my eyes and says:
Sally, everyone has a redemption story, everyone. It doesn’t need to stop you. In fact, it is likely the very thing that will set you free. Bring it to Jesus. Bring it to a friend. Share your story. In that same story are the seeds of a resurrection, I promise you. There is no story too heavy, no person unworthy, no situation beyond redemption.
Let them know. Bring them this message. Hear me, and celebrate this news. You are so loved that Jesus came and will come again. Do you understand?
Yes. Yes! I will share this. I will find a friend to share my redemption story with. I’m so grateful you shared this with me!
Mary pulls me in and wraps her arms around me, rocking me side to side in her excitement.
Find someone to share your redemption story with. Allow a full 20 minutes to share your story without interruption. Spend a few moments in silence before you open your heart and hear their story. Afterwards, share together how it felt to share with one another. Feel the lightness in your being!