Two Mary’s Make Us Merry

by Rev. Doug Gray

One of the things I get to do each month is to lead worship down at the Marina Bay Skilled Nursing Facility and across the way at The Atria. Mary Thompson, this sweet woman with penetrating blue eyes, is often there. Mary was in the paper not long ago because she turned 102 and has led an amazing life. Just about every week, Mary re-introduces herself to me, but one week she said, “I’m Mary. Just another Mary.” That made me think of the first Easter Sunday, when we see Mary Magdalene and the other Mary going to the tomb…Mary, and the other Mary.

When you were growing up, did any of the other kids have the same first name as you? My first-grade class had 3 Bob’s in it. So the teacher was forever getting them mixed up. All three Bob’s used to roll their eyes with embarrassment when she got them mixed up, but the rest of the class used to snicker. Jesus seemed to have a lot of Mary’s hanging around. Mary Magdalene, Mary His mother, and the other Mary. I wonder, did they feel very ordinary, like the 3 Bob’s in my third-grade class? So on this first Easter Sunday, two Mary’s were at the tomb, felt the earthquake, saw and heard the angel, and two Mary’s carried the news back to the other disciples. Did you hear what their emotions are as they run to the disciples? With fear and great joy. Just Mary and the other Mary. On the way, Jesus steps up to them and says, “Greetings! Rejoice!” and then Jesus adds, “Do not be afraid!” Ordinary Mary’s with extraordinary news, meeting an extraordinary Jesus, and their fear is taken away.

So when I think of Mary Thompson at 102, saying, “I’m just another Mary,” and I think about her amazing life, I am struck that for God there is no such thing as “just another Mary” or just another you. God made each of us and knows each of us like we are the only one. And Jesus knows all our fears, flaws and foibles and still we are loved—even ordinary folks like you and me can have extraordinary news of Jesus rising again in us. Even ordinary folks like you and me can meet this extraordinary Jesus because of Easter. Because of Jesus rising again, our fear can give way to great joy. He is risen! He is risen indeed!