Saturday Sermon: The ballad Of Mary Magdalene
I am not a musician and have never claimed to be a musician. I can sing in the shower if no one is listening. The only instrument that I can play is the radio.
However, as I have perused the Easter story this year, I was impressed with something I realized about Mary Magdalene. The testimony that she might bear of the things that she had seen that first Easter Sunday morning could form the foundation of a great ballad.
"I have seen the empty tomb."
Mary was first to the tomb that Easter Sunday morning. She left Bethany early in the morning before daylight. She had no idea how she would roll away the stone that they had set at the passage leading to Jesus' tomb.
But upon her arrival something troubled her even more. The stone had been rolled away already. She saw the empty tomb and rushed back to tell the others.
"I have seen the folded clothes."
After Peter and John returned to the tomb, they looked inside to discover the tomb was not only empty, but the clothes that Jesus was buried in were neatly laid aside, and also the headpiece was carefully folded.
This was not the work of some malicious grave-robber. Something much bigger was going on. And when Peter and John left, Mary stooped inside the tomb and saw what they had seen.
"I have seen the angels."
Once inside the tomb, Mary saw something Peter and John did not see: two angels. One was at the foot and one at the head of the tomb. Most of us can say we have never seen an angel; Mary saw two. What a spectacle.
"I have seen the Lord."
Such a spectacular thing as seeing two angels would have made headline news that day - except for the fact that Mary almost immediately beheld something greater. Looking back out of the tomb she saw someone who she supposed to be the gardener.
And then, He spoke. Not he spoke, but He spoke. He simply uttered her name, "Mary." I don't know if she recognized the voice, the inflection or just the compassion, but she knew immediately that He was Jesus.
Jesus, who she had witnessed dying Friday, she now witnesses very much alive Sunday. As she returned again, she could testify, "I have seen the Lord."
I am not a musician and have never claimed to be a musician. However, I recognize the makings of a holy ballad here. Let me encourage you who are musicians to do the rest.
I hope that you will spend this Easter season worshiping in a congregation of your choosing. Jesus is alive, and that's something about which we can all sing.
Mike Gresham is the pastor of First Baptist Church in Port Lavaca.