We would like to be those two angels sitting in the tomb, safe with our insider information. Smiling at those outside, “Why are you crying?” without sharing what we know, namely that Jesus is alive again.
We would like to be those two disciples, running as fast as possible to the tomb, peeking quickly inside, and then running as fast as possible back home again without even glancing back, to lock the door and take care of ourselves.
The truth is we are more often Mary Magdalene, unsure of what exactly is going on, confused, hurting, tears filling our eyes, with no idea what will happen next.
And yet alert, aware, and strong enough to stay anyway. The thing is, Mary stays. She sticks with it. She stands firm. It’s obvious she expects something, although exactly what she isn’t certain. But of course, there’s a difference between “expectation” and “certainty.”
Expectation means you know that this present moment is not all there is. Expectation is understanding that there is more, even if you aren’t certain what that “more” actually looks like.
Expectation is what compelled Mary Magdalene to stay, in spite of her pain, her grief. And through her tears, in the darkness, she saw … someone. Someone who called her by name.
And there it was. “Oh. You know me! And yes, I know you. Oh, it’s you.” And just like that, expectation was fulfilled, as she saw Jesus, living and breathing and walking and talking. Jesus.
Easter is all about expectation. And that doesn’t mean that we know exactly what will happen next; it just means we know Jesus. And more importantly, that we are known by him.
And now we carry that expectancy into every moment of every day, and it gives us hope. Life is uncertain, the world is a violent place, there will be struggle, grief, obstacles to overcome. None of that goes away just because it’s Easter.
What has changed is that our lives have been infused with expectation, and we know that our present reality isn’t the end of the story. Easter assures us that, no matter how bad things are, expectation will be fulfilled. If we stick with it like Mary did, we will see Jesus.