A Letter from the Vicar
A message for Easter 2021 (based on John 20)
John, like his fellow evangelists begins his account of the resurrection with the empty tomb. These eye-witness accounts provide for you and me evidence of both the power displayed by God and God’s compassionate nature.
The Power of the Resurrection
Simon Peter and John run to see what has happened when Mary brings them news that the stone has been rolled away from the entrance. As Peter enters the tomb and ‘looks at’ the scene – the Greek word is theoreo from where we get the word ‘theorise’ – a thousand thoughts are going through his head. The same ‘theorising’ occurs today when people are confronted with what happened on that first Easter morning. Who moved the stone? What has taken place here? Where are the guards? Where is the body? Who will take the blame? Who brought this about? Then John arrives and sees the same scene and the evidence before him leads to one conclusion. He believes! He believes that all that Jesus told them whilst they journeyed with him is true. Jesus is the Son of God. Jesus is the Messiah. Jesus has been raised from the dead through the power of God. Jesus is the resurrection and the life.
The Compassion of God
Then the focus turns to Mary who is outside the tomb weeping. Mary is sad, confused, fearful, angry, doubting and grieving for her Saviour. Mary, whom we are told, was healed by Jesus from seven spirits (Luke 8). Mary who saw Jesus die upon the cross and with his broken body all her joy, hopes and dreams for the future were destroyed as well. Now, there is one last chance for her to find her beloved and she pleads with a figure whom she believes to be the gardener “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.” Jesus may have wanted to challenge Mary’s apparent lack of faith in this question. Hadn’t Mary remembered all his teaching that the Messiah would suffer, be killed and raised on the third day? But no! His humanity and ability to walk in another’s shoes, his love and compassion, leads the risen Jesus to voice the one word at that moment in history she is longing to hear, “Mary”. In one word Jesus turned Mary’s sadness into joy, doubt into faith, fear into hope and an impatience to let the whole world know “I have seen the Lord!”
Over the past year, many of us will like Simon Peter have theorised about what has been happening through events that have occurred in this world. My prayer is that you will also, like Mary, have looked out beyond your own resources and heard God reassuringly speak your name, showing that God is not only powerful but personal, and above all dependable, through this strange and difficult time.