As we read the gospels, we see that when the early followers encounter the resurrection of Christ they are filled with a new vision and they begin to practice resurrection. They begin to live in a way that does not compute. It is bold and without fear. And the same is still true today. When we meet the risen Christ, we are filled with a new vision to make the world a better place, wage peace in this world with God, and break down dividing walls of hostility.
Mary, when she sees the man in the garden, assumes he is the gardener. Jesus spoke to her, “Woman, why do you weep? Who are you looking for?” She, thinking that he was the gardener, said, “Sir, if you took him, tell me where you put him so I can care for him.” Jesus said, “Mary.” Turning to face him, she said in Hebrew, “Rabboni!” meaning “Teacher!”….Mary Magdalene went, telling the news to the disciples: “I saw the Master!” And she told them everything he said to her.
It is so fascinating that Mary mistakes Jesus to be the gardener. On one level, she was obviously wrong, but on another level — as one commentator NT Wright points out — she was right, because Jesus Christ was a gardener, ushering in a new creation in our world.
In the opening pages of the Bible, in the Book of Genesis, we read of Adam the first gardener in our world, in the paradise of Eden. But then Paradise was overcome with thorns and thistles and hard ground. On Easter, we meet Christ as the new gardener, who comes into the world to remove the thorns and the thistles, to break up the hard ground, and replace it with trees, with flowers, with the harvest.
See, in a mysterious way, when Christ died on the cross and rose again, he was breaking the power of death and evil and unleashing the greatest life-giving force the universe has ever known. It is the force of revolutionary love. It is a self-sacrificing, non-discriminatory, revolutionary love.
May we follow this gardener Jesus today.