The hush of early dawn.
Soft voices whisper as though they will disturb. Mary, heavy with grief, lack of sleep, fear…eyes bloodshot from crying; confusion wars with grief. ‘I don’t understand,’ she whispers to herself. She looks quickly to her left at Mary, who walks beside her quietly, eyes down, staring at the dusty, dim path. She looks up briefly, making eye contact.
Despair, pain, loss pours from her eyes along with her tears. “What are we to do now? Where should we go? I don’t know what to do.”
Soft light, leaves visible, a soft breeze picks up. She stops and shifts the basket of spices to her other arm, preparing herself for the reality of what lies ahead.
A closed tomb. A cold stone blocking her view of the body of her Lord.
They walk around the bend in the path and stop in their tracks, frozen.
Soldiers lie strewn about on the ground, unmoving, unconscious. ‘What has happened?’ As her eyes pass over the soldiers, she looks to the tomb…
The stone is rolled away from the entrance. Questions race through her mind in a split second, rushing thoughts, fear grips her…”What have they done,” she whispers.
Flooding the wooded area, light so powerful it crushes her to the ground, blinding her, pushing her down with is brightness. She hears Mary gasping in fear, face down on the ground next to her. She strains to see…movement. Dimly, stirring in the brilliance of stunning bright, she sees two figures.
To describe their appearance would be impossible. Covered in light, at once terrifying and beautiful, two men stand before her. One speaks, his voice like a clear trumpet, “Whom do you seek?” She looks quickly at Mary, who kneels to her left, face down. She cannot speak for fear. The voice sounds again, “Whom do you seek?”
She looks up, holding her hand above her eyes to shield them. “My Master. I come to see Jesus’ body.” What sounds like a chuckle comes from the light, a sound of merriment such as she has never heard.
“Why do you look for the living among the dead,” the voice asks? She squints into the light and, even as the question registers in her numbed mind, the voice speaks again; a triumphant pealing sound as the voice changes pitch, growing deeper, brighter, solid.
“He is not here! He has risen, just as He said.”
The words hang in the air, seeming to take on life, a weight, a heaviness.
What?! What does that mean? Is it true? Can it be true?
She tries to look into the tomb and looks up to the light, only to realize that it is suddenly gone and she is looking directly into the risen sun. Silhouetted by the sun, a man stands before her. She is temporarily blinded and shields her eyes again.
“Who are you? What have you done with him?” Her voice sounds strangely loud, cracking the sudden silence of the morning.
The man speaks, a voice that she knows at once…the pitch of the voice, the inflection of her name she has heard before, a familiar tenderness.
Her eyes adjusted, she looks into the face of Jesus. Suddenly panting, tears streaming down her cheeks, she stares at Him in stunned wonder. Surely she must be dreaming. ‘Wake up!’ Her mind shouts at her. It seems as an eternity but is a mere second that her mind races.
She reaches for His hand that hangs by His side…”Master,” her voice trembles. Even as she stares into His face and reaches for His hand, she sees that familiar smile.
“You must not touch me yet. Go and tell the others, Mary. I will meet the brothers in Galilee.”
And then He is gone.
Running, shouting, weeping, she and Mary sprint into the city, stopping to hug each other in incredulous joy. Running into the house they were all staying in, Mary burst into the main room. Peter and John were sitting on the dirt floor, staring into nothing, vacant eyes heavy with sorrow.
“Peter! Peter, I saw Him. He’s alive!”
Peter looks up, his eyes dead and lifeless, confused.
"Slow down, I can’t understand you when you shout. What did you say?”
She sees John look up. “I saw Jesus. He’s alive. He told me to tell you to meet him in Gali…”
She is almost knocked to the ground as Peter and John bolt out the door. She follows them as fast as she can, falling behind.
Peter is first to the tomb but stops short, falling to his knees before the stone that was the door, weeping, holding his face in his hands. John runs past him and into the tomb.
She watches as Peter gets up and stoops to enter the tomb as she approaches the opening and stands watching. Peter and John stand in front of the slab where they laid His body, staring at the cloths used to wrap him.
“It’s true. It’s all true.”
Peter’s voice whispers into the quiet of the empty tomb. John begins to weep softly as Peter wraps him up in his arms, moving them both toward the opening.
Peter walks outside, staring up into the sky, lifting his arms up as if to touch the blazing sun.
“Come, John. We must tell the others. We have to go. He said to meet Him in Galilee.”
There is no soft whispering as they leave the tomb this time, no shadow of grief, no heavy hearts.
Only joy, laughter, wonder and breathless anticipation…