Spirit & Life

They did not believe her

Mark 16:1-11
After the Sabbath was over, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices to go and anoint the body of Jesus. Very early on Sunday morning, at sunrise, they went to the tomb. On the way they said to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?” (It was a very large stone.) Then they looked up and saw that the stone had already been rolled back. So they entered the tomb, where they saw a young man sitting at the right, wearing a white robe—and they were alarmed.
“Don’t be alarmed,” he said. “I know you are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He is not here—he has been raised! Look, here is the place where he was placed. Now go and give this message to his disciples, including Peter: ‘He is going to Galilee ahead of you; there you will see him, just as he told you.’”
So they went out and ran from the tomb, distressed and terrified. They said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid.
After Jesus rose from death early on Sunday, he appeared first to Mary Magdalene, from whom he had driven out seven demons. She went and told his companions. They were mourning and crying; and when they heard her say that Jesus was alive and that she had seen him, they did not believe her.


When confronted by what is hard to hear, shocking to consider, grieving to know, difficult to understand, it is often much easier to not believe it at all. Then, in anxiety, fear and shame, choose to ridicule the truth-teller. “They did not believe her” is a silent echo around our country even now. It is haunting to hear this phrase continues to live on. Wholly undeserved, and brazen in riposte to honest statements, the underlying message “They did not believe her” shatters the connecting space between people as if splintering glass.
As we celebrate Jesus’ life and death and life again, and recall the Way he shows us to live, let us hear again Jesus believed in her, healed her, appeared first to her, and commissioned her to go share the Good News. May our renewal this Easter follow Jesus’ Way, of respect, listening, seeking, understanding, accompanying, discussing and breaking our fasting souls with the Bread of Life together.

Prayerful Pondering on a Marken Yarning –

‘They did not believe her’
Mary’s discipleship expressed certainty and compassion.

In the home:
With hope, she gathered her precious gift.
In care, she poured her healing oil.
With humility, she removed the clinging dust.
They ridiculed and shamed her care.
‘They did not believe her’

On the journey:
With faith, she was a constant follower.
In prayer, she listened and understood.
With intelligence of mind and soul, she learned.
They kept her at the sideline.
‘They did not believe her’


At the dying:
With companions, she attended.
In grief, she wept.
With love overflowing, she came to tend.
They walked away, beaten and confused.
‘They did not believe her’

At the dawning:

With alarm, she ran from the darkened tomb.
In distress, she sought truth
With the Gardener, revealing truth brought her light.
They were mourning and crying; and when they heard her say
that Jesus was alive and that she had seen him,
‘They did not believe her’

Compassionate Jesus, you respected Mary.
Open our eyes to see your Way.
Break into our darkness and reveal your Way.
Call forth our voice to speak your Way.
Shine in our lives as we live in your Way.
That they do believe her.

So if anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation:
everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new!          
2 Cor 5: 17

© Rev Anne Hewitt 31/03/2021
this reflection & prayer may be shared as long as the original writer is credited.

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