Little did we know, a month and a half ago, that we were going to set out on a country-wide dramatic retelling of the Easter story. We’ve all had a little while to get into character now, and suddenly it’s our time to step onto the stage and play the part of the huddled and frightened followers, gathering in their locked home, anxious to leave, worried about what the future will hold.
For the second time in our Gospel, a woman named Mary walks to the tomb of someone she loves. But where Mary of Bethany found her brother still lying in the cold dark, his body deteriorating, Mary of Magdala finds something even more horrifying. The tomb is open, the body gone, even the linen wrappings his followers carefully, tenderly dressed his anointed body in are gone.
The Passion story is many things: it’s violent, it’s heartbreaking, it’s human and messy, it’s significant, but it’s not pretty. And, it can be hard to hold our face up to those things in our world that are ugly. Things we’d rather not see. I don’t know about you, but I wish this chapter in the Easter story went differently. And, that’s something I struggle with every year. Both because Jesus’ condemnation, torture and execution happened – a series of an unjust and violent acts – and because of the theologies I’ve come across where people have tried to explain away any discomfort we might have on Good Friday.