"Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed ... But Mary stood weeping outside the tomb. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb". (John 20:1, 11)
Jesus' appearance to Mary in John 20 is elusive and uncertain. Mary sees partially, through tears and darkness and from an outside perspective, the geography of her encounter with Jesus is confused as there are too many "turnings", and she only recognises Jesus when he addresses her personally and specifically. Resurrection is to do with victory over death and sin, a sure hope for the future and a celebration of the Lord's unfailing love. But as an important counterweight to any creeping triumphalism, this account makes clear that we encounter it tentatively, unclearly and in confusion. There is hope for us in this: amid a world of darkness, tears and confusion (in Ukraine and Yemen, to name but two) the risen Lord meets us, reveals himself to us, addresses us and commissions us to be his witnesses.
May you receive a fresh awareness of Jesus' sure presence with you in your uncertainties this Easter.