AN EASTER REFLECTION – by Roger
Matthew 28:1-11 or John 20:1-18
Easter Sunday was strangely muted this year, with worship ‘privatised’ in individual homes, except for those services streamed online. None of us need reminding of the many negative effects this virus has had on so many lives. Yet it has given us the space to reflect on what matters most in life – the WMM factor.
In John’s gospel account of Easter morning, Mary Magdalene fails to recognise Jesus, thinking he’s the gardener. Of course, she was grieving deeply and not expecting to see him. Grief disorientates and she had turned in on herself.
Mary was caught up in what we might call crucifixion vision. Sadly, crucifixion vision can afflict most of us. It’s a way of seeing and perceiving the world that makes us think that Sin and Death are in charge. It may trick us into wanting to go back to the past, to the ‘good old days’. It assumes death is really the end, so we’d better live for now and try to postpone death as long as possible with whatever means are available. Crucifixion vision takes over when our plans don’t work out. In short, it overrides our ideas of what matters most. When Mary heard her name called, however, her crucifixion vision fell away like the scales did on St. Paul’s eyes and she saw the world anew with resurrection vision.
It’s this resurrection vision which is the antidote to crucifixion vision. It looks away from ourselves and all of our problems and encourages us to live in the present – to appreciate more deeply our human relationships, to take in the beauty of a flower or the sunrise. It enables us to trust that all things – all things! – work together for good for those who love God. Resurrection vision knows that joy comes in the morning, even though weeping is now present. It’s always open to being surprised by God, because our resurrection God is a God of surprises. God often uses the least qualified, least educated, least righteous, least “good” people to be his ministers in the world. Just look at Moses, David and Paul. Resurrection vision is always waiting for surprises.
God’s vision is a resurrection vision. In John 3:17, we read that God sent his Son into the world not to condemn the world – that’s crucifixion vision – but that the world might be redeemed through him. What that means for each one of us, is that if we find that resurrection vision, we will know that with God all things are possible. We will know that love wins. And particularly at this time, we will know that we are all one in Christ. It might take a while for us to see as God sees, to love as God loves. It might take a little time, a few tries, but God is at work, in our midst, meeting us just where we are, holding us, healing us.
There are many unanswered questions in life, particularly at present. But we simply can’t wait until we have all the answers before we start living fully. It’s in the searching, the doing, the responding that we discover what matters most. Resurrection vision enables us to show the world our ‘WMM’, by acting and living as if we mean it.
Stephen Cotterill, the Archbishop of York designate, has recently written: “If you are grieving for the world that was here yesterday, do not see this isolation as a mere interval before it starts again, but an opportunity to live differently”.
Despite these troubled times, may Jesus’ glorious resurrection enable us to see through resurrection eyes and truly discover what matters most in our lives. That lovely Easter carol ‘Now the green blade riseth’ reminds us:
‘When our hearts are wintry, grieving, or in pain,
Jesus’ touch can call us back to life again,
Fields of our hearts that dead and bare have been:
Love is come again like wheat that springeth green’.
R0ger Grose, Lay Minister, Axe Valley Mission Community
Watch ‘Love is come again’ here!