I don’t know much about the women who came to care for Jesus’ dead body. When I have to do something out of the ordinary, I prepare myself mentally for it. They have probably prepared a body for burial before, but not someone as precious as Jesus. The women were walking together but there is no record of their time, walk, if they spoke of the man they loved who had died, or if they kept their busy thoughts to themselves. What I do know is what they found exceeded their expectations.
Mary Magdalene heard his voice. I don’t know if you’ve ever lost someone close to you, but I know when I have that I hear their voice and see them – his hand pushing the button on the elevator, that is not his hand. Or her coat on a woman crossing the street a block ahead of me. I don’t know if it’s an illusion, but I do know that was I saw was not what their was. Mary Magdalene must have thought something like that was going on. It wasn’t. Not only did she find Jesus, she found the Jesus she never could have expected. He was not bent over cowering in the corner – half dead from the beatings and cross he had spent so long enduring, but not all dead. He was vibrantly and completely alive.
There was nothing in that tomb. Martina Ockerman from United Methodist Church, explains that Jesus chose to show up and tell the women himself all that had happened. He couldn’t let use women-folkin the temple, or arrange for a private women’s Bible study and would have been considered scandalous to have her as one of his disciples.
She explains, “Those of us who serve as women clergy are spiritual descendants of these women at the cross. If not for these women, we might still be followers from a distance, never to have broken that boundary….” I do not consider myself clergy, although I’ve held various leadership positions in the church, but I know a reason I am welcome at all in the services is because those women went to care for Jesus, opened their doors to believers and seekers and strongly gripped their faith. The roles I do have are because those women went to the tomb in the service of God and they served Jesus because they loved him. They weren’t only wives, daughters and mothers, they were Ministers to Jesus.
Let’s do that, too.