Sunday 9th April
Here we are coming to the end of Holy Week with all the drama and despair to come before the glorious realisation that death is not the end and JESUS IS ALIVE!! Indeed he lives still through us and the engagement we have with others. Our account of that first Easter will be taken from Matthew’s gospel on Sunday which is different from the others. We have the 2 Mary’s early in the morning slowly and sadly making their way to the tomb ready to prepare Jesus’s body for burial. How would the hours from his interrment in the tomb have been spent, were they all living in fear in case they too were arrested for their association with Jesus or were they numb and bewildered from the shock of having suddenly lost their leader and guide? We can’t really know and sometimes it is hard to appreciate the despair that they all must have felt as we know what comes next, which is why it’s good to come to the services on offer on Maundy Thursday and Good Friday (see list below for timings) as we try to recreate that sense of loss and desolation.
Matthew’s account starts dramatically with an earthquake and then the appearance of an angel , who to the consternation of the guards, moves the stone at the entrance and then stays there radiating light and hope and God’s love. The women were equally stunned especially when the angel talks to them to try and explain what has happened, reassuring them that this is good news! The instruction that they are given is to go and tell the disciples and to wait for Jesus to come to them. Obviously their reaction of joy and wonder is the right one as Jesus himself appears before them and talks to them – how reassuring must that have been to the bewildered women. He repeats the angel’s message telling them not to be frightened but to go and tell the disciples what they had witnessed and that Jesus would meet with them too in Galilee. How amazing that the first Resurrection appearance was to the women who were very quietly and conscientiously doing what needed to be done (preparing their teacher’s dead body for burial), probably much as they had been doing for the whole of Jesus’s ministry, getting on with the mundane tasks that needed to be done ,living out Jesus’s example of service to others.
Twice in this short, but visually dramatic, version of that Easter morning the women are told to go and tell the others the good news of Jesus’s resurrection and that he would meet them later. That’s the simple message that we need to take from this Easter Sunday – to not be afraid but to go out and tell others the Good News that JESUS IS ALIVE and He will meet us on our journey and accompany us on the way, if we follow His example of love and service to others.
HAPPY EASTER ! Hope that you can join us to celebrate with Bishop Rose at 10am this Sunday!