The two Marys and Salome prepare to do what their faith and culture dictate. They prepare to anoint the bruised and broken body of their friend. Grief stricken and in danger for their own safety, they still arrange to complete this act of love. It is all they can do. As the women hurry to the tomb, they realize their predicament. Their plans are incomplete. They ask each other what they cannot do themselves, "Who will roll away the stone for us?"
A young mom, from Canada's farthest northwestern arctic region, tearfully says 'good-bye' to her daughter and husband. They are leaving the small, remote community on a medical travel pass. Much farther south a physician waits to diagnose the little girl. Mom is remaining with her other children in fear and uncertainty. What will the doctor discover? Frantic with worry, she prays as she watches the small plane take off. It is all this mom can do. Like the friends of Jesus, she ponders what she cannot do herself, "Who will roll away the stone . . . ?"
Another woman waits for her prognosis after cancer surgery. Feeling alone and out of control she awakens in the recovery room. She cannot solve this problem on her own. There seems to be nothing she can do; still she yearns to know, "Who will roll away the stone?"
Perhaps similar to these women, we are anxious. We worry about our families. Out of our loneliness, we crave love. Financial and medical uncertainties are often our reality. "Who will roll away the stone for us?"
It is Easter morning. The stone is rolled away - for us and for all people. Mary, Mary and Salome are told to leave the tomb. ". . . he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him, just as he told you." (Mark 16:7) The anointing is not necessary. Jesus is alive. As well, the young mom recognizes that because Jesus lives, she can face the challenges. The woman in the recovery room understands that because Jesus lives, she is not alone. The fear is gone.
Gracious God, we cannot see the possibilities without your help. A stone is in the way. Roll away the stones in our lives that we may know your Son's presence. Help us say with certainty, "Jesus is alive!" Help us recognize your love in the gift of an empty tomb. Amen
Written by AnnE Zimmerman, Executive Director, On Eagle's Wings, Edmonton, Alberta