20 Meeting

I don't often write overtly religious pieces but this one just wanted to be told.
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Mary sat up and stared across at the window. She could not see it, which told her that it was still dark outside. Well, there was no point staying here trying to sleep. She had spent most of the night lying awake, crying so many tears that her eyes were almost swollen shut. When she had managed to snatch a little sleep, her dreams had been full of horror and death. It might not be morning but the Sabbath was over. She would rather be doing something than lying here weeping pointless tears.

Reaching behind her, she grabbed the bag of spices that she had bought for an exorbitant price two nights ago. With sunset approaching, she had simply rushed into the first spice shop that she came across and paid whatever the man had demanded, too numb with shock and grief to haggle even a couple of shekels off the price.

It also meant that she was not entirely sure where the tomb lay because she had not been with the others when they laid him there. She had stayed at the cross long enough to see his mother cradling his poor bloody corpse as if he were a newborn babe once more. Tears ran down her face but they were tears of relief; relief that he was beyond anyone's power to harm him further.

Unused to Jerusalem, Mary kept to the main streets, which eventually led her to the cemetery. It was cool here after the dust of the streets. She was grateful for the extra light, now, as she scanned each tomb entrance for the landmarks the others had given her. A patch of juniper bushes in front and a young cypress tree to the side. Not this one; the tree beside it was mature. This? Maybe... Except that it was open.

She stared stupidly at it, thinking that she had made a mistake about the landmarks. No; there were the bushes, there was the tree. Then it must be a trick of the light. The stone sealing the entrance must be darker than the outside of the tomb! But there was enough light by now for her to tell the difference between a stone and empty space. Anyway, she could put her hand through the gaping hole.

A fresh wave of despair swept over her and she felt her eyes brimming with tears once more. Was it not enough that they had killed him like a common criminal? Could they not leave his body in peace? As she leaned against the outside of the tomb for support, a voice came from behind her.

'Woman, why are you crying?'

She turned to see who had spoken but she was blinded by her tears and the newly risen sun. All she could see was a man's outline.

'I was looking for my Lord,' she told him, 'but I can't find him. Do you know where they have laid him?'

'Mary!'

At the sound of her name, her heart leapt within her and she knew him.

'Master!' She rushed toward him but he stepped back.

'Do not try to hold me, Mary.'

'I... I don't understand. How is this possible?'

'How many times, Mary? Evil cannot conquer love. The darkness can never extinguish the light.'

'I know that, but... I saw you, broken, dead. You were gone!'

'I never left. I will never leave you.'

'But your mother! Have you seen her?'

'Mary, these questions are unimportant. I cannot stay here and you must tell the others what you have seen.'

'Tell them? They'll think I've gone mad!'

He laughed then, the old familiar laugh, the one that came as a response to their confusion, their lack of understanding. A kindly adult chuckling over the mistakes of children. Another teacher might have ranted at them in frustration, but theirs only laughed.

'No, Mary, they won't think that. Now, go. Walk in my light.'

And then he was gone and she found that she was gazing at a patch of sunlight under a tree whose flickering leaves dazzled her like water. The bag fell from her fingers and she turned on her heel to run back to the house.

*******
Mary sat up and stared across at the window. The room was filled with the glorious light of morning and the chatter of people newly awakened from long sleep.

 

20 Meeting

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