Mary on Easter Morning

We were weighed down, walking to the tomb.
We knew the way, for we had walked it two days before.
We had followed Joseph of Arimathea and his servant
down the hill from Golgatha,
their arms straining with the dead weight of Jesus’ body.
We saw where they laid him, how they wrapped him in linen.
We saw their shoulders pushing that stone in place,
the sound of it grinding shut.
And though our eyes streamed tears
we marked the place,
for we knew we would come back.

And on the first day of the week,
we came, arms full of aromatic oil and spices;
cinnamon, cassia, myrrh.
All our resources pooled in a fragrant offering,
one last service for Jesus.
We walked the dark path,
the sky just beginning to lighten.

What we saw in the semi-darkness
was not the closed tomb we had expected,
but a gaping hole!
Alarmed, we looked inside,
and saw that Jesus’ body was gone.
Someone had been there before us.
How could this be?
Grave robbers?
Some final act of blasphemy against our Saviour?
Had Pilate changed his mind,
and was Jesus’ corpse now hanging somewhere for all to see?
I dropped all I was carrying and ran to find the other disciples.
Peter and John came racing back.
Entering the tomb they saw for themselves what I had told them,
Jesus was not there.
I stood with them, our hands on the giant stone,
confusion written on our faces.
They left, but I remained, gathering up all those spices,
my tears dropping on the ground.
Would this suffering never end?

I turned and looked again in the tomb,
but this time, there was not darkness, but light!
Two angels sitting where Jesus’ body should be
asked me why I was weeping!
Why was I weeping?
And then another man, the gardener,
suddenly there behind me,
also asking about my tears.
All I wanted was Jesus’ body,
so I could do what I came here for,
mourn properly, anoint him with these spices in my arms.
“Where is Jesus, tell me if you know!” I cried.
And then he said my name, and I suddenly recognized him.
Jesus!  Not dead, not cold, not lifeless, not gone forever!
Jesus, alive, before me, talking, looking in my eyes!
My heart about stopped as I reached out to hold him,
to see if he was real, touchable, Jesus in the flesh.
He talked of My God and Your God,
and suddenly it was real to me.
It was not God far away, not God not listening,
but God present, God doing impossible things,
God making morning miracles out of death’s darkness.
Jesus asked me to go and tell the others.
I threw the spices on the ground,
(no need of them now!)  and I started running,
my feet moving faster than they’ve ever moved,
beautiful with good news.
I have seen the Lord!
I have seen the Lord!

New Book Coming Soon!

Carol Penner has written a devotional book for Lent that explores the challenges of repentance and forgiveness. Forty reflections and prayers to deepen your walk with God as you prepare for Easter.  

You can order it here!

About Carol Penner

I am a Mennonite pastor currently teaching theology at Conrad Grebel University College in Waterloo, Ontario. I’ve served congregations in Ontario and most recently, Alberta.

I love to write and to lead worship! If you are finding my writing helpful, I would love to hear from you! Feel free to use or adapt the material here, it is all written by me. If printing material, please credit “Copyright Carol Penner” (and say whether you modified it). If publishing, please contact me for permission. Contact me at

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