Graveyard of Old South Presbyterian Church in Bergenfield, New Jersey. Graves in this church yard date back to the 1700s when the site was a Dutch Reformed Church founded by early settlers to the area. PHOTO: CHRISTIE R. HOUSE

A devotion for Easter day

By Alison Ho Yan Lee

April 4, 2021 | PHNOM PENH, CAMBODIA

Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.” Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and said to him in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher)

John 20:15-16 (ESV)

“Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?” Jesus asked Mary, who stood at the tomb, weeping. In desperate sadness Mary was missing Jesus, the Rabboni she had followed for years, and the Lord who just marched into the City of David not long ago. But now everything had gone. Even his body did not remain.

Jesus stood with Mary. He saw through her sadness and feeling of loss. “Woman, why are you weeping?” The first thing he gave to Mary was his accompaniment, when he showed up. Jesus stood with Mary in her grief and loss. “Whom are you seeking?” He identified with her needs as something, someone important to her was violently destroyed and taken away.

While Mary was still desperate about who took her Lord’s body away, Jesus called her name, “Mary.” Our God is usually the one who takes the first step to come to us when we are lost in the chaos. God sees us and calls us. God finds us amid our troubles, long before we are able to find God and call out to God. God does not overlook our problems and abandon us in a muddle.

The story of Mary’s “lost and found” did not stop there. Finally, Jesus sent Mary. “Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father; but go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” Jesus invited Mary to join him in God’s great mission. He stood with her, called her, and commissioned her, right when she was at her life’s lowest point, when everything in life had fallen apart.

Jesus did not choose and send Mary when she was fully equipped, nor when she was emotionally and spiritually fit for the job. Perhaps even Mary herself did not feel ready for it! All that empowered Mary to go and bring the resurrection hope of Jesus to the sons and daughters of God is simply this – “I have seen the Lord.”

Prayer: Dear God, you see us and know us in every season of our lives. You are the anchor of our hope when most hopes are fragile. You hold my life together and launch me into the great mission of God. Put me to what you will, place me with whom you will. All is for your glory. Amen.

Prayer in English

Prayer in Cantonese

Alison Ho Yan Lee serves as a Global Mission Fellow at the Centre for Peace and Conflict Studies in Cambodia. The organization’s regional mission is to strengthen strategic interventions into violent conflicts with the overall aim of fostering sustainable peace in Asia. When she wrote this in early March, Alison and her team were supporting the work of various stakeholders on resolving the political crisis in Myanmar arising after the February 1st coup. Alison, from Hong Kong, SAR, was commissioned by Global Ministries in 2019.