Holy Week and Easter

Sunday 12th April: Easter Day

Gospel for Easter Day (Matthew 28:1-10)

 

Reflection

 

I’m waking up each morning to the lovely sight of sunrise over the village green. Maybe one or two people out walking their dogs. And then my heart sinks as I remember what is going on in our nation and across the world.

It’s hard, this year, to stay positive, isn’t it? And yet, here we are in Spring, with lambs being born just around the corner from where I live; spring-bulbs bursting into flower; birds calling their mates (and how lovely to be able to hear their song so clearly, now there is so little traffic noise). All signs of new life, hope and blessing.

According to Matthew’s gospel, it was Mary Magdalene and “the other” Mary who went to Jesus’ tomb just as day was dawning on that Sunday morning following the crucifixion of Jesus. In other gospels we read that they had brought spices to anoint Jesus’ body for burial – their first opportunity following the Sabbath ‘lock-down’.

They must have woken that morning and ‘remembered’ the events of Good Friday and the pain and emptiness that followed. As they approach the tomb in their grief, they have the most terrifying experience. A great earthquake heralds the arrival of an angel of the Lord! The angel rolls back the stone sealing the tomb to reveal that it is empty (save for some grave-clothes). Jesus’ body is not there!

‘Do not be afraid’, says the angel, who then proclaims the Resurrection of Jesus. Still afraid, but also full of great joy, the women leave quickly to share the good news with the other disciples.

Before they can get there – another shock! They meet the risen Jesus! And we hear again, ‘Do not be afraid’, this time from our Lord himself.

It’s a message for our time. We are all rather afraid, for ourselves, our loved-ones, our communities. We don’t know how long the coronavirus pandemic will continue to threaten and take lives. We don’t know when life might ever get back to anything like normal for those who weather this storm.

Today – the greatest Festival of the Christian year - our church buildings should be places of great rejoicing and fellowship together. But they, like the tomb, stand empty, with their doors shut and locked. 

That is not the end of the story, any more than the empty tomb was on that first Easter morning. The other message that both the angel and our Lord gave the women was ‘Go and tell’.

That, too, is a message for us. Our ‘going’ may be restricted, but we are finding new ways to share the Good News of Jesus. 

Our bishops’ Easter message includes this prayer from the Easter liturgy:

May the light of Christ, rising in glory,

banish all darkness from our hearts and minds.

Amen.

Amen, indeed.

Alleluia! Christ is Risen!

 

With Easter blessings and my prayers,

Revd Sally


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