Her head is spinning. The colours colliding in her brain. She gasps as she runs, keeps glancing back to see if she can still see him. Half an hour ago she was dragging herself from the stale dregs of a sleepless night, feeling like death warmed up. Now she has witnessed death, not merely warmed up, but infused with blood-pumping, pulse-racing, laughter-making life. She’s seen a corpse, looking nothing like a corpse. Still bearing the marks of death, yes. But there was nothing gray or decomposing about it. Not for a second. It was tanned and flushed and teeming with health. And those few moments of contact have done the impossible, brought her back to life. Warmed her cold heart, resurrected her murdered hope, yanked her spirit well and truly into the land of the living. So she runs, and she gasps and she finds herself laughing as she goes. Aloud! And then suddenly here he is, the big fisherman, standing beside his friend, the slightly smaller fisherman.
‘Peter, John,’ she can see the flecks of spit spraying the air as the words flurry from her mouth. ‘Peter, John!’
Their reply lands like a glob of sodden dung on the ground between them. Dull, hopeless, stagnant. Just the way she felt only 30 minutes before. What can she say to turn this around?
‘What?’ Another slab of wounded, verbal despair.
‘Alive!’ She says it in such a way that the exclamation mark on the end is very clear indeed. And just in case it isn’t she says it again, louder this time. ‘He’s ALIVE!!’
This is too good to keep in, too good to hug to herself, too good to clutch like a bag full of winnings. It has a life of its own. This news is a river bursting its banks, a volcano spitting bright life-giving lava, a torrent of hope, a tale with a wondrous twist. And yet they look at her as if she’s just given them a huge tax bill.
‘It’s true! I’ve seen him!’ she says, those exclamation marks punching towards them.
They stare at her, throw a glance at one another then shoulder past her, run to see for themselves. One will come back believing the other befuddled.
John 20 vv 11-18