Speaking to the Soul – April 2

Women of faith


When the sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. They had been saying to one another, ‘Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?’ When they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had already been rolled back. As they entered the tomb, they saw a young man, dressed in a white robe, sitting on the right side; and they were alarmed. But he said to them, ‘Do not be alarmed; you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has been raised; he is not here. Look, there is the place they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him, just as he told you.’ So they went out and fled from the tomb, for terror and amazement had seized them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.

And all that had been commanded them they told briefly to those around Peter. And afterwards Jesus himself sent out through them, from east to west, the sacred and imperishable proclamation of eternal salvation. St Mark 16: 1 – 8


A continuing very happy Easter to you all!
Jesus is risen: Hallelujah!

While Jesus’ life and ministry in Judea and His trial and execution at Pilate’s order are historical events within our human experience, the next chapter is something more. At the heart of our Christian faith is our belief that Christ has died; Christ is risen; Christ will come again!

Mark introduces – at the Cross –Mary Magdalene, Mary (James’ mother) and Salome, but we learn nothing more about them. Their devotion to Jesus is implicit in their actions. They bought spices – what did they cost? How much was bought? In the UK when someone dies, we use a funeral director. We no longer carry out these intimate final tasks.

The women’s love and grief for Jesus overwhelm them so much; they don’t consider the practical matter of moving the heavy stone until they are on their way. This conversation is unique to Mark.

They expected to find Jesus in a tomb. Could we imagine anything more distressing than finding the resting-place of our loved one disturbed? What they are told is beyond human experience!

In their frightened state, the young man in white keeps it simple. He allays their fears by explaining what has happened to Jesus. Until they know what’s happened to Jesus, it’s unlikely that they would take in anything.

Much has been written about “tell His disciples and Peter”. Peter has probably been feeling wretched since he denied Jesus. His world, too, is about to be turned upside-down – for the better!

The oldest manuscripts of Mark end with the women saying nothing. I am so glad that they did speak out – ultimately, we have these women to thank. All Gospels record women as being the ones who first encounter the Resurrection at Easter.

As a man, I sometimes feel a bit awkward writing and preaching on Easter Sunday. These three women’s faithfulness to Jesus in His death, at His rising and proclaiming this news – despite their fears – are an inspiration to us all.


Loving and life-giving God, we praise You for the resurrection of Jesus.
He was faithful unto death and rose again to new life.
We give You thanks that You invite us to share in His risen life.
Your love touches our hearts in the darkest of times.
Your promise of new life lifts us up:
You come to us as we are, and where we are.
We come to You today with hearts open and ready to receive You. Amen.