The Holy Women at the Tomb William-Adolphe Bouguereau

Bit Parts in the Easter Story – The Gardener

The Gardener – John  20:11-16

What’s wrong?  Why are you crying?

“They have taken my lord away.”

Who is it you are looking for?

“Sir, did you move his body?  Just tell me where he is and I’ll get him.“

So that part isn’t in entirely there and 100% of scholars that I consulted on the issue agree that it isn’t in there.


It’s the first day of the week and Mary Magdalene goes out to the tomb.  She goes to finish the job that Joseph and Nicodemus began.  She goes to finish the burial.

She went there to find death.

At first, she’s terrified because the stone has been moved.  She goes back for Peter and John and they all ran back to the tomb.

It’s the first day of the week and Mary stands weeping outside an empty tomb.  Then she looks inside and sees two angels dressed in white.  Beside herself in grief she answers their questions through her sobs.

She turns around and there’s another person behind her.  Her best guess is that he’s the gardener.

Who is it you’re looking for?

“Just tell me where he is.”

For Mary, it was not the first day.  It was the last day.  It was the last day of a relationship.  It was the final step in a journey.  She came that day looking for a dead man.  She came with what she needed to finish a burial.

The gardener says her name.


And on that first day of the week, she knew he was no gardener.

He was there to start something new.

It was indeed the first day.  Not just of the week, but of a covenant.  It was the first day of different rules and different thinking and a different kind of life and faith.

It was the first day of life as we know it.

Sometimes, we are like Mary.  We tend to approach the last place that Jesus was in order to preserve him.  We come with our own boxes of definition, our supplies of tradition and limitation and our spices of ritual to embalm the Jesus we once knew.

When we do we may turn around and find the redeemer calling us by name.

And we should be prepared for something new.



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