The gospel passage for today is the latter half of Sunday’s gospel passage, John 20:11-18. We see from these verses that the fears and sorrows of believers can sometimes be quite needless. Mary is busy sorrowfully staring into the tomb, when all the time, Jesus is standing right behind her. She has to turn around in order to realise just how close He is. How often are we staring so hard at the cause of our sorrow that we are unable to see Jesus? How often are we unaware of His presence when He is so very near?
When Mary turns, and eventually recognises Jesus, Jesus says to her “Do not hold onto me… instead go to my brothers and sisters and tell them….. This can mean that rather than spending time comforting herself by embracing Jesus, Mary needs to comfort the others by spreading the news of His resurrection. But “Do not hold onto me” could mean that Mary needs to get used to the idea that it is not His bodily presence that is important, it is His Spiritual presence with His disciples that will sustain them in the coming days, weeks and months, not His bodily presence.
Many of us are used to receiving communion once or twice a week, and as I, or Sally, put the communion wafer into your hands, we say, “The body of our Lord Jesus Christ”. Just as Mary had to learn to go without the bodily presence of Jesus, we must go without our Communion wafers, that very real reception of the body of Christ, and even for those churches that rarely receive communion, the body of Christ is also the church, the people of God, something else we are having to do without in physical form because we can’t gather together. But we can still connect by telephone, by email, by FaceBook, Face Time or Skype. So as we continue to learn to worship in different ways, let us not spend time staring at the cause of our sorrow, instead let us look in a different direction and let us pray that the Lord will help us to recognise His presence with us.
May God bless us all in this season of Easter