Bishop Joanna’s Easter Message 2018

Once more, this year as every year, we remember and celebrate the event that changed everything.

Women, weeping and numb,  came to the tomb determined to do the last thing they could for the teacher and Rabbi they loved and revered and in whom they had put their hope for renewal and change, justice and hope.

Who knows what they had imagined as they had followed Jesus of Nazareth around Galilee and even to Jerusalem, watching his miracles, listening to his teaching. Along with the exultation of Palm Sunday, I am sure that fear had nagged at them, a fear that became only too real when they heard of his capture, his trial and his sentence. Bravely they had stood near Golgotha, so that at least he might catch sight of a face that loved and honoured him amongst the jeers, mockery and hatred.

Early in the morning they came to the tomb; no body but visions of an angel, angels with the strangest of tales and a command, He is risen. Go tell his brothers, He will meet them in Galilee.

Most of the women hastened to obey, for all the good it did them, “but we had thought it an idle tale” reported a male disciple later. But, angels or no angels with message of resurrection,  Mary of Magdala wasn’t going to be put off. She wanted to do what she had come to do, the one last thing, “Tell where you have laid him?”, she asked and then came the word that changed it all: “Mary”.

Everything had changed. Her instinct was to hug: but the harsh “Don’t touch me” was the response. Jesus hadn’t come back. Not business as usual. Everything had changed. The God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob is not an idle tale but the God who raised Jesus from death to life unquenchable, unstoppable.

This is the world we live in now. It looks the same as it must have done before but it is the world in which God raised the crucified Jesus from his tomb, the world in which He appeared to His disciples,  spoke with His disciples, ate with His disciples.

The people who saw Jesus, touched Jesus, sat around the fire with Jesus on a Galilee beach, told others, who told others, who told others, who told us and this is the beginning, middle and end of what we live by and proclaim today:

Alleluia Christ is Risen, He is Risen indeed. Alleluia. May God bless you as, day by day, you open your hearts and lives to the reality of the Risen Jesus this Eastertide.

+Joanna St Davids