Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 - Advanced)
Topic: Illustrate the meaning of "Every Dark Cloud has a Silver Lining" (without using the actual phrase or literal example). (02/28/08)
- TITLE: In a Name
By Janice Cartwright
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With the horror of the crucifixion yet upon her, Mary forced her thoughts to this one last service she could perform for her Lord. The nubby feel of the burial spices in their cloth bag as they lay next to her body, and the faint, sweet aroma that arose from the same source, urged her forward.
Even in the dim gloom prior to daybreak, Mary did not forget the way back to the tomb. She had marked it well in her memory and sensed it was not much further: just a bit over the next rise. As she passed around a dense stand of juniper, the sepulchre emerged into view.
Mary stopped short, sucking in her breath. It seemed impossible, but the massive, round stone had been rolled back in its groove, exposing the dark entrance to the tomb. Her heart pounding nearly out of her breast, Mary rushed to the opening and bent to peer inside. The tomb was empty.
Now Mary’s feet flew down a different corridor to the house where Peter and John were staying. The agreed-upon, coded rapping gained her entrance; between gasps she tried to voice her terror. “The seal to our Lord’s tomb has been broken, the stone rolled back, and they have taken away the Master. I don’t know where they have laid Him.”
Mary was fleet of foot, but by no means could she stay abreast of the two stronger men. At her words, Simon Peter had rushed first from the house, but before he could reach the burial place, John had outdistanced him. As Mary came upon the scene, though, she saw Peter had entered the tomb ahead of him; John stood slightly apart, pensive, a deep frown clouding his brow. Then John went in too. The men disregarded Mary, seemed hardly aware of her presence; and so she hung back.
Just as Mary had told them, the tomb was bare of all save Jesus’ burial cloths and head napkin. Those lay neatly folded where His wrapped body had lain stretched upon the depression carved into the wall of the tomb. John and Peter sensed great danger. Though John had thoughts of his own, both deemed it best to stay out of sight for the time being, and so they made their way back home. But Mary stayed longer, huddled near the sepulchre.
After all the shock, grief, and sorrow of the past few days; how could she bear more? This had to be Mary’s blackest hour. All she had left of her Lord, His precious remains, had now been torn from her grasp. As she bent to look once more into the empty tomb, deep, wracking sobs convulsed her body.
At the head and the feet, where Jesus’ body had lain, two angels in blinding white garments probed the weeping Mary. “Why are you crying, Woman?”
The sobs ceased for a moment as Mary, startled and amazed, stammered out, “Because they have taken away my Lord, and I don’t know where they have laid him.”
Mary saw angels: brilliant beings of the Realms of Glory. But what was it to compare to the focal point of her entire being: her Lord, her Master. Jesus was life itself to her and she had lost Him and nothing, nothing else mattered. At wits end, she turned away, tears still pouring from her reddened eyes.
“Woman, why are you crying?” Who is it that you seek?” the voice was one of deepest timbre and compassion, but the face of the man seemed to her a stranger. “You, there, gardener,” she sobbed. “If you know where my Lord is, or have taken him away, please, I beg of you, tell me where.”
Jesus said unto her, “Mary.”
The one word, Mary: was there another who could speak her name like that? Her name on the Master’s tongue brought instant and sweetest recognition.
She turned, and the world on its axis seemed to turn with her. “Rabboni.” The one word, His Name: there was in that name, a universe. Could any… ever… be as sweet upon Mary’s tongue?
“Jesus said unto her, Touch me not, for I am not yet ascended to my Father: but go to my brethren, and say unto them. I ascend unto my Father, and your Father, and to my God, and your God.” John 20:17 (KJV)
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