|Detail from a stained glass window in St Stephen's Episcopal Church, Oxford NC|
She looks so serene. This must not be from the Mark version, for that Mary Magdalene did not see Jesus but only the angels, and she, along with the other women, ran away terrified.
This woman is not terrified. She is interested, curious, open despite her previous posture of grief, which is only hinted at here.
Today we did a funeral for a well-loved 90-year old from our parish. I knew her pretty well - she was the first parishioner whom I went to visit, on my second day of working here. I saw her many times after that - at dinner, at lunch, at her apartment. She talked with me about her funeral, about her age and the fact that she wasn't going to live forever. It didn't bother her at all, the thought of her death, other than the fact that she loved her life. But she was not terrified or even afraid of death.
Resurrection is of course at the heart of our faith and is obviously the most awesome thing that there is, outside the incarnation of God in the person of Jesus. But for this Mary, and for my parishioner, there is no mysterium tremendens in the thought of it, no fear and trembling at the awesomeness of God. I hope I shall be as open and curious and ready to receive resurrection as as this lovely Mary is, when Jesus comes to take me to himself.