Pause

Even when we expect it, even when we know it is coming, Easter arrives all wrapped up in surprise. We are amazed at this great thing God has done.

Life springs from the darkest place we can imagine.

Death is sent packing.

We are given again the gift of wonder, and we stand amazed in the presence of our risen Lord.

Open wide now your heart. Open your heart to the Light — the Lord of Life!

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Listen

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 around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, "Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you looking for?" 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.

John 20:11-18

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Think

Can you picture Mary, feeling her way in the dark to the last place she saw her Lord? But he isn’t there. The stone has been rolled away and his body is gone. She thinks someone has stolen it. It’s only later, as she is standing outside the tomb weeping, that she turns and sees a mysterious stranger standing there. She thinks he’s the gardener. She says, “If you’ve carried him off somewhere tell me and I will take him away.” And then Jesus calls her name, “Mary,” and in that moment she recognizes him for who he really is — the risen Lord.

Do you know how that is, how you can pick your mother’s voice out of a hundred other voices? This is the one who gave you life. This is the one who taught you love.

I think that’s how it was for Mary.

Jim Somerville

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Pray

Jesus. Teacher. Source of life and love. On this day I celebrate your resurrection, grateful beyond words that you are now and forever alive and well. Thanks be to God! Amen.

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Go

Christ is living, no more weeping, no more time for grief and pain!
Neither death nor tomb could hold Christ, who is living once again.
Do not look among the dead for one who lives most certainly;
Christ is living! Hear the good news that resounds so joyfully.

Nicolas Martinez

Jim Somerville

Jim Somerville is the pastor of First Baptist Church, Richmond, Virginia. He is married to the former Christy Treadwell and they have two daughters, Ellie and Catherine, both of whom grew up going to Passport. Jim enjoys backpacking and almost any other activity that gets him outdoors.

Crown Him with Many Crowns

Rodrigo Rodriquez

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