Happy Easter from St Mark’s
Today, we celebrate the most important festival in the Christian Church. As AM Ramsay said “No resurrection, no Christianity”.
Our railings this morning have been festooned by a huge flutter of butterflies – please take one if you see them. The butterfly is often a sign of resurrection, emerging transformed out of the chrysalis, to fly in beauty.
Beauty, freedom, joy, colour, hope …. love, forgiveness … God
You might like to read the story of the Resurrection. In John’s account, we hear Jesus calling Mary by name … Mark’s account is more abrupt, and recalls some of the bewilderment, even fear around this completely extra-ordinary event.
You might like a 10 min video of reading and a reflection for today (transcript below)
We are worshipping in the church building at 8am and 10am … numbers are limited, but you are welcome to join us (if you can let us know you’re coming, that would help on numbers) – email: firstname.lastname@example.org
And on Zoom at 11am … Meeting ID: 859 5830 8086; Passcode: 1357
And a wee thought …..
All around us we see the seasons changing, the flowers beginning to show their true colours, the warmth of the air, and the increasing daylight, as we emerge not only from winter, but our isolation of the last year.
Clearly our experiences of the last year have been very different, some have faced the death of loved ones, or uncertainty and anxiety over jobs, income, and education. All of us have experienced the loss of freedom this year – whether that be the freedom for a holiday, or to mark a milestone birthday, or even the freedom to pop into the shops and go to the cinema.
We are slowly emerging … and I suppose that’s a good way of looking at the Resurrection of Jesus. None of the gospel stories announce this moment with trumpets and fireworks. It’s always a quiet affair, in a garden … the slow dawning of a new day.
The dawning takes time – in fact, this particular dawning is still in its infancy, the colours of the sky are still turning – we’re still emerging into the new day of Christ’s resurrection. We sit in semi darkness, clinging to our fear of love, of each other, of truth, of joy – and our biggest fear of all – of God.
So often we set God up as a strict disciplinarian, who is cross with us when we get it wrong and keen to punish us, or prevent our enjoyment in life.
But that’s not the picture of God that Jesus shows us – he shows a God who goes after the person who is lost, who heals the person who is suffering, who welcomes the excluded or the one who is bullied, into his community and fellowship.
And this is even more so in the stories of the Resurrection. The disciples all abandoned Jesus at the cross, they betrayed him, denied knowing him, fled from his side. They were huddled together, scared that they would be the next rounded up by the powers that be.
In Mark’s gospel, even on Easter Morning, the few women who dare to go out, find an empty tomb, are given full instructions, but then run in fear and silence.
But into this we hear a message said by an unnamed young man – Go and tell his disciples – even those who publicly denied him – that Jesus is ahead of you, and he will meet you where you live – he’s already there.
Jesus welcomes even these back into relationship with him and with each other as he forms a new community in the new dawning day – a community of reconciliation, forgiveness, love.
Resurrection is about entering the new dawning that Jesus is always there, where we live, in the pain of isolation and the laughter of friends; in the fear around the suffering of a loved one, in the despair about the state of the world; in the frustration with the bureaucratic systems around us, in the frailty of our bodies. In the joy of success, and in the despair of failure … Jesus doesn’t just come into them all … he’s already there.
This slow dawning, the new creation in the world affirms that God still breathes new life into our tired bones, and cynical hearts; that God warms our fearful ways of living into ways of love and justice; that God dreams of making all things new and yearns for each one of us to catch that vision and become part of the kingdom each and every day.
Resurrection hope and new life is a quiet dawning of a new day … may you know the whisper of love, life and forgiveness today; may you know yourself named by God and called to be part of the new creation of his love; may you know your fears taken into the heart of the God who inspires us and sustains us in our daily lives.
God bless you and all you love!