But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb; and she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had been lying, one at the head and the other at the feet. They said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping?’ She said to them, ‘They have taken away my Lord, and I do not know where they have laid him.’ When she had said this, she turned round and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping? For whom are you looking?’ Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, ‘Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Mary!’ She turned and said to him in Hebrew, ‘Rabbouni!’ (which means Teacher). Jesus said to her, ‘Do not hold on to me, because I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go to my brothers and say to them, “I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.”’ 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.
We weep when we are sad. We weep when we see and feel the pain of others. We weep when we experience the hopelessness and futility of life. We weep when we are amazed by astounding bravery or astonishing kindness. We weep when we encounter strong emotions.
We wept when we saw the Russian invasion of Ukraine. We wept when images of the mass graves and senseless destruction were beamed into our homes. We wept in the face of Putin’s cruelty and hubris. We wept in rage at Patriarch Kirill’s subservience to his earthly, instead of his heavenly, master. We wept with amazement at the bravery of the Ukrainian people and at the courage of their comedian turned President.
Through our tears we hope. Through Mary’s tears she met the Risen Lord. Not recognising or understanding what God had done, Mary’s tears turned to joy and an enthusiasm to tell others that could not be contained despite the strictures of status and sex.
We know that God is at work through our pain and our tears, our rage and our horror, our failure to understand and our inability to see God’s presence. We know that resurrection is a past historical fact in the life of Jesus and our future destiny. We know that through God’s saving love our world will be transformed and pain, mourning, rage and tears will end.
Until then we wait with our tears and our joy, our pain and our amazement, our rage and our determination to make the world better. We wait knowing that one day, in God’s good time, all things will be put right but that, until then, we are the agents of God’s change in our amazing, but broken, world.
God of our tears we bring to you the pain of our world, our rage and our determination to make change happen. Help us to use our faith in your sovereign power to make a difference, that our resurrection hope will bring healing to our world. Amen.
The Rev’d Andy Braunston is the Minister for Digital Worship and a member of the Peedie Kirk URC in Orkney