Open Tombs, Fight or Flight and Making Sense of Mary in John 20

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scoobydooWhen you are young you do foolish things…things you look back on and wonder “What was I thinking?” or think about all the bad things that could have resulted from your decisions. We had a youth group that went through a season of seeking out scarey experiences. There were nights we would leave Wednesday night class and venture out to the scariest places we could find. The type of experiences you can have is grossly limited by the area of the country you live in…being in rural North Alabama there were only so many things we could get ourselves into including a few things I have mentioned before in the post “The Miracle Model of Youth Ministry.”


One of those activities involved trying to scare each other at night out in a cemetery. We would take flashlights and only keep them on some of the time to increase the potential for danger. The cemetery we visited the most frequently had several above ground vaults and what made these extra creepy was that a few of them had been opened and the lid sat crooked over the lower part of the vault…basically an open tomb of sorts. I still cannot tell you what was in there…I was too afraid to look!


I cannot tell you how frightening it is to walk up to an open tomb in the dark, just figuring that at best this is not a good idea…no one wanted to look into the tomb. That has bad juju written all over it. Fight or flight kicks in and without any visible person to fight all that’s left is flight.


And that is exactly what Mary did in John 20 when she was walking…in the dark…to the tomb of Jesus and she found it open. She got out of there as fast as she could! No looking inside. No Scooby Doo poking around to see if old Mr. Anderson had taken the body. You get out of there as fast as you can and try to figure things out later, from a safe distance…over a cup of hot chocolate!


Mary ran. I think I would have too!


What is it that scares you. What is it that makes you just want to run away or let someone else handle for you? It may well be that, like Mary, there is more good news in the story than we realize…we just need a little space from the thing that scares us to begin to make sense of what is going on and, oh, like Mary you may want to bring a few rugged fishermen types with you next time.

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