She supposes that he is the gardener.
Mary supposes that the man she turns and sees strolling through this cemetery garden is there to pick weeds and prune olive trees. She thinks he is the gardener.
The Bible begins this way: In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
John’s gospel begins this way: In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. John’s gospel makes the point, over and over again, that something which started during creation, at the foundation of the world, found its fulfillment in Christ.
The creation story of Genesis ends in a garden. Adam and Eve are hiding. And God is searching for them. Adam, where are you? Eve, why are you hiding?
And so, John’s story ends too, in a garden. His story ends with a woman searching for God. Where is he? Where have you put him? Tell me where he is.
We have come full circle, and we find ourselves back in the garden. Mary supposes that the man she sees that Easter morning is the gardener. And notice, Jesus does not correct her. John does not correct her, either. Because John wants us to see that she is not wrong. The gardener in Genesis searching for Adam and for Eve is one and same as the gardener that is sought out and found here by Mary.
On that morning, the story that began in a garden in Genesis finds its fulfillment in a garden outside of Jerusalem, where the woman who searches for Christ, finds him. Through tear-blinded eyes, she calls him the gardener, and she is not wrong. The same God that sought Adam and Eve in the Garden in Genesis is the God who has made it possible for all humanity to come out of their hiding.
“Mary,” Jesus says.
And at the sound of her voice, she realizes that the gardener is none other than her beloved teacher, her friend.
As we come to this table, we hear his same voice. Where are you? Why are you hiding? We hear him speak our names, “Mary. Kathy. Jason. Jess.” If we can muster up some fraction of the curiosity and hope that caused Mary to go to the tomb on Easter morning, then we too can hear the voice of the gardener call our names and invite us to come out of hiding. We too can meet the risen Lord Jesus.
Prayers of the People
God our Father, by raising Christ your Son you conquered the power of death
and opened for us the way to eternal life. Let our celebration today raise us up and renew our lives by the Spirit that is within us. Grant this through our Lord Jesus Christ, your Son, who lives and reigns with you and Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever.
We pray, O God, that you would look with mercy on those who today are fleeing from danger, homeless and hungry. Bless those who work to bring them relief; inspire generosity and compassion in all our hearts; and guide the nations of the world towards that day when all will rejoice in your Kingdom of justice and of peace.
We pray, Lord, for boldness to live as those confident in your resurrection. May we proclaim new life through our daily interactions with others. We ask that we can be your hands and feet each day to those who are eager to have your word displayed to them.
Lord in your mercy....Hear our prayer