Viewpoint from Rev Rosie Bunn 15/04/2022
Rev Rosie Bunn
Rector of All Saints Church, Belton
St Peter & St Paul Church, Burgh Castle
I wonder what Mary Magdalene would have said if Jesus had just jumped out in front of her as she went into the garden close to the tomb? It certainly would have been a surprise, a big surprise….. a heart-stopping surprise! But Jesus was much more gentle than that
Mary was so caught up in her grief – Jesus had been killed on the Friday, and buried rather hurriedly that evening, but earlier that Sunday morning, she and the other women and then some of the disciples had gone to the tomb where they had buried Jesus, only to find that his body was not there. So, through the tears and confusion of her grief, Mary doesn’t recognise Jesus when he speaks to her. She thinks he is the gardener! And asks him if he knows where Jesus’ body has been taken
“Mary!” Jesus, speaks her name, and in that moment she recognises him. All her grief gone in an instant. But her life then gets more complicated as she is entrusted with the message of good news to give to the disciples. “Tell them “I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God””
But in the evening of Easter Day, the disciples are still hiding behind locked doors, fearful of what might happen to them and not believing what Mary had told them, when the risen Jesus comes and stands among them. BOO!
Of course Jesus doesn’t say “Boo!”, because he finds them startled, frightened and thinking they were seeing a ghost. It seems to have taken him a little while to convince them that he was alive, and not a ghost…. offering to each some fish in front of them to prove it!
In many ways – you just couldn’t make up all that went on from Jesus’ arrest late on Thursday evening, his crucifixion on Good Friday and his rising from death on the Sunday morning. The accounts of what went on that first Easter, written from the memories of those who were there differ slightly (which, for me, seems to show their authenticity). How many of us would say exactly the same thing if we witnessed something as dramatic as that? Having worked in the legal profession, reading statements in criminal cases, it was always highly suspicious if a group of accused lads came up with exactly the same story
For me, it isn’t just what the disciples say that matters to me, although the doubts expressed by Thomas, not being prepared to take the other disciples’ word as to what they saw, are important. For me it is the total transformation in the demeanour of the disciples, knowing that Jesus has risen from the dead, that is significant. From being terrified of what might happen to them, they become confident; they now understand what Jesus had been teaching them for the past three years!
Easter, for some may mean chocolate eggs and a four-day weekend, but for Christians the Easter story is the foundation of our faith. Jesus, the Son of God, dying on a cross, overcoming death and rising to new life is the invitation to believe in Him and have life in his name. Jesus calls us by name, too. We may not hear his voice as Mary does, but Jesus knows your name and mine, and calls to us, as individuals, to enter and receive eternal life
Before Jesus was even arrested, as he prepared his disciples for what was to happen, Jesus told them that he would be going away, and that he would go to prepare a place for them (and us), then he would return to take them (and us) to be with him. They forgot all about that teaching in the pain and distress of their bereavement. This Easter let’s thank God that Jesus made a way for us; let’s enjoy the chocolate eggs, but more importantly let’s accept the invitation with our name on it that opens up the way to eternal life for us
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