When I was visiting in Tucson, a stranger walked up to me and said “Hi, what are you doing here?” At first I was totally puzzled. Who was this? Then she called me by name and said she was from Bethany, Ontario, my home at the time. Of course, I said. I didn’t recognize you. I guess I didn’t expect to see anyone from home here.
I think it must have been like that for Mary that Easter morning. She went to the tomb expecting to find Jesus’ body. When it was gone, she was sure his body had been stolen. That was her expectation. When she saw him in the garden, she still wasn’t ready to believe. Only when he called her by name did she recognize him.
When, like Mary we are faced with tragedy, we too struggle to believe that all is not over. God can bring new life out of the loss of our job, the end of a marriage, even the death of a loved one. Easter reminds us that God will never be defeated. Jesus said, “Very truly I tell you, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds.” (John 12:24)
It’s not always tragedy that blinds us to God’s new life. Sometimes we’re so caught in what has always been, “we’ve always done it that way”, that we haven’t room in our minds for something totally new. God calls us by name and reminds us that with God, we can have the courage to step into something new. This Easter, open your eyes and ears to the life God is offering you. Remember the past, not even death has the last word. God does.