Sunday 17th April 2022

Reading: John 20:1-18

Reflection This is our first in person Easter Sunday Service since 2019. I would like us to simply enjoy the pleasure of each other’s company on this most beautiful day of our faith. My reflection is going to be a bit shorter than it normally is as we enjoy and celebrate Easter in the music and words of well-known hymns and the solo from Richard. I would like us to become absorbed in the moment of Easter day. To that end why don’t we take a moment, a moment to still ourselves, put our minds and thoughts and our busyness to one side, as we sit quietly before reflecting on Easter Sunday morning for those who were there. (Silence) Last week we looked at some of the disciples as the crowd entered the city. This morning we take that as our focus again, the ones who witnessed, first hand, the Risen Christ. When trauma enters our lives it can often result in emotion taking over logic, the heart begins to rule the head, if you like. John tells us there were some standing at the foot of the cross. There are those who would call them crazy, risking association with this enemy of the state. John tells us of others who claimed Jesus body for burial. There are those who would call them crazy, risking the wrath of those Jewish leaders who handed Jesus over. Then John tells us of those who approach the tomb. There are those who would call them crazy, crazy for getting up and coming to the tomb. Whatever craziness they may have been accused of, however much their hearts were ruling their heads, trauma had caused emotion to overtake logic and who could really blame them because their love for Jesus went beyond logic, it went beyond the head, he was their Lord. Then John tells us the tomb is empty. Peter had wept with bitter regret at denying his Lord. Imagine the emotions that were pumping through his body his heartbeat must have been pounding almost beyond limit. Imagine the craziness of his thoughts, with hope, regret, grief and fear as he ran to the tomb. Mary Magdalene, Peter and the other disciple see it but they can’t fully understand it. Is it any wonder? They are crazy with emotion. Who among us would be able to witness such a thing and instantly recognise that everything had fallen into place just as we had been told. No body to grieve over, to be near, to help with the reality of the last week, allowing those events to sink in. Without the body to grieve over, there are tears of grief and loss. Let’s pause again before we hear those words. (pause) ‘Woman, why are you crying?’ Jesus also once stood by a tomb and wept, greatly disturbed in spirit and deeply moved when he saw the tears of Mary and Martha by the tomb of their brother Lazarus. Let’s pause again before we hear what is said next. (pause) ‘Mary’, and we pause again for Mary’s response. (pause) ‘I have seen the Lord!’ As she told the disciples all that Jesus had said to her. In our journey through life there are many times for weeping, today is a day to be filled with tears of joy. Today is a day of great emotion for all who believe. Today we revisit those ‘I am’ sayings of Jesus as we hear his words echoing throughout this Easter morning: ‘I am the resurrection and the life’. This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it. I ended last week by asking if Palm Sunday was, ‘the beginning of the end or the end of the beginning?’ The beginning of something new that only Easter can deliver. Easter Sunday is the beginning of the never ending, we can release the past into the past as we embrace the present moment we simply enjoy the pleasure of each other’s company on this most beautiful day of our faith. From that tomb with the stone rolled away, with strips of linen left lying, to those words, ‘Woman, why are you crying?’ Suddenly everything has changed forever. Hope has been reborn, the joy of life has returned. The risen Christ has delivered a new beginning, a new chapter that would never come to an end. New life for all who believe, life that is for all eternity. This is the day that the Lord has made, let us rejoice and be glad in it. Hallelujah!

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