The path was narrow, and it was dark as I made my way down to the cave where we had buried Yeshua. I carried the embalming spices in a small bag on my back. Yeshua’s mother had told me about a night long ago, when he was just a baby and wealthy foreigners had brought him gifts, including myrrh. Someone had known even then what he was going to be, and where his nature would lead him.
The eastern sky was beginning to turn pale as something large loomed out of the darkness. I squinted at it, not realizing at first what it was. The thing was round and pale grey-brown. It was the stone we had used to seal the tomb. It had taken Shimon, Andreas, Yochanan and the man Yoseph who had given us the tomb just to move it two nights ago. Why had the tomb been disturbed?
I soon came to the mouth of the cave. I peered inside and gasped.
The body was gone.
Insult to injury! It wasn’t enough that they had killed our Master, teacher and friend: someone had stolen his body, in order to subject it to who knew what defilement. I wanted to cry, to scream and shout, but all my emotion had been spent. I felt empty, useless.
It was only then that I saw the linen grave-clothes, neatly folded in the corner. Even assuming that a thief would have removed them, why would they have left them so tidily. I couldn’t make any sense of it.
Light came from behind me. I thought at first it was the sun rising, but it carried on getting brighter, brighter than the sun could possibly be. I turned, and fell to my knees.
A human-shaped figure stood, as tall as the trees and blazing with light. Behind it in the sky were countless thousands of other figures, no less bright, and all of them were singing, Holy, holy, holy is the Lord God of Hosts.
MARYAM, said the angel. DO NOT BE AFRAID, FOR GOD IS WITH YOU.
Easy for you to say, I found myself thinking.
GET UP, DAUGHTER OF LEVI, he said. KNEEL NOT BEFORE ME, BUT ONLY BEFORE THE ONE WHO SENT ME.
I shakily got to my feet and stood before the angel.
THE ONE YOU SEEK IS NOT HERE, said the angel.
“I—I know. I—I came to check the tomb and he was gone.”
HE IS NO LONGER AMONG THE DEAD, said the figure. HE IS RISEN. YOU MUST TELL THE OTHERS.
I tried to take this in. Yeshua, risen from the dead. I had seen what had happened to Eleazar, but I would still have struggled to believe it without the angel standing there. Without Yeshua, the world seemed to be more mundane, to sparkle less.
“How will I convince them? It will seem far-fetched. Can you not appear to them too?”
THIS TASK IS FOR YOU TO DO. YOU ARE BETTER AND STRONGER THAN YOU KNOW, MARYAM OF MAGDALA. THE ANOINTED IS RISEN. GOD HAS CALLED YOU: GO FORTH AND SPREAD THE WORD.
With that, the Host was gone. I stood, wondering whether I could believe my eyes, or whether I was going mad. But I had seen countless people healed, Eleazar raised from the dead, food multiplied. What was one more miracle.
I started back to where the other disciples were waiting, wondering what I would tell them. But they had seen the things I had. They would understand. I would make them listen. My heart sang praises to God.
Alleluia! Christ is risen!