READ : John 20:1-18
And she saw two angels in white, sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and one at the feet. (v. 12)
When Mary steps into the tomb, weeping at the loss of her friend, this is what she sees: a stone bench, bare as bare can be except for two heavenly beings flanking it. A disconcerting and distressing sight—unless Mary recalls what she heard in the synagogue as a child. Then the sight might be familiar, even comforting.
Though she hasn’t seen it personally, Mary has heard a description of the ark of the covenant and the mercy seat. She knows that mercy seat is a slab of pure gold, flanked by two heavenly beings facing inward. She knows that in the space between, God dwells.
And here in the tomb, again, those two heavenly beings! On the far ends of a seat! Except now they’re not facing inward; they’re facing out, toward Mary. Is God gone? Has he left his seat?
Indeed, he has. Though she doesn’t know it yet, Mary will soon discover that her Lord is no longer confined to the mercy seat. His throne is the world. He will send forth his Spirit to dwell in the space beyond.
As a woman unable to enter the Holy of Holies where the ark of the covenant is kept, Mary has never before had that sort of immediate access to God. But now—now he is right before her, as close as her breath.
Boundless God, thank you for inhabiting the whole world, for dwelling within me.