12 Apr 2020 • From the Vicar
Each day we will take a look at a sentence from the Lord’s Prayer.
For thine is the kingdom the power and the glory forever and ever.
For the kingdom, the power, and the glory are yours now and for ever.
‘Woman, why are you weeping? For whom are you looking? Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, ‘Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.’
Jesus said to her ‘Mary!’John 20:16
The egg, rabbit and branch are all symbols of Easter Day. The rabbit is based on the hare, which was a symbol of new life; a budding branch, a sign of spring after winter and the chocolate egg reminds us of the stone that rolled away.
The women and disciples who went that day were amazed, frightened, confused. But very soon they were transformed by hope as they realised that Jesus was not dead but alive!
Urgently called by Mary, Peter and a second disciple rush to the tomb. Something about the grave clothes makes them pause. John says the beloved disciple “saw and believed”, but immediately makes it clear that he didn't understand what he believed in because he hadn't yet learnt about the resurrection. Knowing in their hearts the presence of God's hand, they went home. “But Mary stood weeping...” Like Jesus' tears at the tomb of Lazarus, her tears gather up all the grief the world has ever known and all the sadness any of us feel. Angels, then Jesus, ask her, “Woman, why are you weeping, who are you seeking?”. It's obvious why someone would be weeping at a tomb, and doubly so when the tomb had been disturbed. So the question is a challenge rather than an enquiry. Who does Mary think Jesus is? Who did she ever think Jesus was? If he was a mere human being, she would be right to weep at his demise. Is this who she's looking for – a good man who ran out of options? Or does she seek the Son of God?
Mary answers on the surface, but Jesus' question has begun to open her spirit. When he calls her by name, there is instant recognition. “Mary” “Teacher!” He has just taught her all over again. The message of Easter is like the rising of dawn in our hearts. Of course our world and our lives are still full of tears. At this very strange time for our world, country and us as families and individuals many are tearful and fearful. Some of us are struggling in our work situations; others are struggling at home or in our families; some have companions in the struggle, others bear the burden alone, and for others still it takes all their energy just to survive.
Yet the resurrection of Jesus heralds the first day of a new creation and so it urges us to look beyond our struggles; to look with faith and to name them as temporary. To do this doesn't make our struggles any less:Jesus came to us because without him our struggles will never be diminished. Yet the reality of our struggles shows even more brightly the power of this new dawn which is displacing them. Have you seen a chrysalis? It looks and feels hard like a stone, dead even. But inside it is something amazing: from it will come a butterfly, flying to freedom.
We look into the empty tomb and find that the terrible events of Good Friday have changed – it’s Good News. It’s the greatest mystery, the greatest miracle and the greatest Good News ever heard. As we hunt for and eat our eggs, see the signs of spring and watch butterflies emerge, let’s rejoice. This Easter, let's actively rejoice in the resurrection of Jesus. Our world needs to hear this Good News afresh this Easter 2020. And it is God, his Son, his power and his salvation we are seeking.
Celebrate – if you have given something up for Lent enjoy taking it up again – if that is possible in your current circumstances. Enjoy some chocolate eggs or a boiled egg to be reminded of the stone being rolled away. Look at a branch with new buds on to remind you of new life. Take a piece of a branch with buds on and place it with the Palm Cross, photo/names, battery, keys, bread,candle and glass of water to remind you of the new life you have in the risen Christ.
Take some time over this next week of Easter to revisit the items collected and continue to use them if they are helpful in your prayers.
Halleluiah! Christ is Risen. He is Risen indeed. Halleluiah!
Thank you God for your creation and for each new day.
Show me how I can help someone today.