A reflection based on John 20:1-18
Christ is risen… Hallelujah… It trips off the tongue doesn’t it, but what does it really mean?
Easter morning is not easy to comprehend!
You see, everything about Jesus, up until easter morning is within the realm of our human experience. We are born, we grow, we eat, we drink, we form friendships, we learn a trade, we are sometimes betrayed by friends, we hurt, and we all know that in the end we face death. All of this is within our human understanding and so we understand ￼￼￼￼Jesus the man.
But then comes the resurrection and it’s a game changer! Christ is risen from the dead and that is way beyond a human experience and comprehension.
In our reading from Johns Gospel we see the events unfold. First Mary comes to the tomb whilst it is still dark. The stone has been removed from the entrance and so she runs to tell Simon Peter and the disciple whom Jesus loved (probably John), wrongly assuming that the body has been taken.
These two disciples then race to the tomb and on entering see only the wrappings. On seeing this the disciple whom Jesus loved believed. These two then return to their homes but Mary remains, inconsolable because the body has been taken. As she looks in the tomb she sees two angels who ask her why she is weeping. She tells them her Lord has been taken away and then as she turns around sees Jesus standing there, though she assumes he is the gardener. But when he speaks her name she instantly recognises her beloved Jesus, everything is transformed. Her weeping turns to Joy and she is ordained to share the good news with the disciples.
As events unfold we hear different stories of how people continue to experience the risen Christ. There is doubting Thomas who needs to touch Jesus before he wakes up to the good news.
There are those friends on the Emmaus Road, there journey with the risen Christ was a slow gradual revelatory experience. Walking with Jesus, listening to his words and sharing their concerns, it was only as they looked back they realised who the one who walked with them really was.
And much later we hear of Saul on the Damascus Road who had a sudden revelation experience, so profound that it knocked him off his horse. It totally changed who he was so that even his name, his very identity changed.
All of these encounters were transformational and you will, I am sure, have experienced these different types of revelation in your own lives, some of you may be on that Emmaus Road gradually bit by bit discovering more of the risen Christ within you. Some of you may have had your lives changed in an instant by a Damascus Road experience.￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼￼Some of you may still doubt and others will embrace the good news in faith. All of these experiences are equally valid, important and transformational as the disciples bear witness to.
One way to think about this is that the events of Easter morning call us to awaken to the Christ, whose ground already occupies the deepest space within our Soul. For too long now we have erroneously thought of Christ as a separate entity, existing in a different time or space and we have been told that some how we have to make ourselves believe or else we are not part of the club.
Yes it is true that God is transcendent, beyond all being and creator of all being;￼￼￼ but equally christ is truly immanent too. This means that it’s not so much about trying to believe in a remote, separate God but rather awakening to the God who is closer to us than our own breath, whose ground is based in the human soul and to reveals himself when we are ready to wake up. No one is exempt from the club!
But we are merely asleep to a truth that will never let us go, that will never stop being true and will continue to whisper in the inner ear of every soul until we choose to listen and that magnificent Easter morning reveals it self in all its glory within us. Some will awaken in this life here on earth for others it will come when our earthly lives are over and the journey continues in one of the other many dwelling places in the Fathers house.
Interestingly in these difficult days when we are experiencing so much fear and anxiety I sense that this awakening is happening on a much wider scale. We are beginning to wake up to the new choices we must make if we are to make it through. Choices about kindness, humility, caring, equality, interdependence and self giving. Choices which just happens to coincide entirely with the path of awakening to new life in the risen Christ
Happy Easter, Much love, Jayne