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Easter Sunday: A World Electric With The Presence Of God – Jane Williams


The Gospel accounts of the risen Jesus suggest that when people encounter him they do not immediately know him. On the whole, they are not terrified…they recognise what is in front of them as a living human being, but not a familiar one. Even the people closest to him need help to connect the risen Jesus with the man they loved. In today’s reading from John’s gospel, you can, if you like, think of all kinds of reasons why Mary does not immediately see who Jesus is as he stands beside her in the garden….the simple explanation must be the true one – that real life is something we are poorly equipped to understand. So Jesus gives Mary the gift of sight, the gift of being able to connect the new life with the old. He says her name, and makes a bridge for her to see who he is, in all his extraordinary life.

By ourselves we do not have the power to see or understand God’s vitality. By ourselves, we plod on, trying to be satisfied with the poor imitation that we call ‘life’, which is all about separation and death. But Jesus gives the gift of connection to the only true life, the life of the creator, which is about unity and sharing in the utterly real life of God…life is not ‘natural’ to us, but is a gift, reflecting the giver. Jeremiah puts into God’s mouth the words ‘I have loved you with an everlasting love, therefore I have continued my faithfulness to you’ (v.3), and that is the heart of it.

…But for the moment we must be content with the sudden and fleeting reminders of God’s eternal life that are available to us day by day. We have always before us the vision of the risen Christ, which helps us to recognise God’s life where we see it. We have his voice, calling us by name so that, like Mary, we suddenly look up and see the Lord of life, standing beside us.

And then, like Mary, we have to turn back to a world, utterly changed, yet devastatingly the same. We know this world now to be electric with the presence of god; we know our own lives now to be zinging with the resurrection life, and yet all of this is tantalisingly ‘hidden with Christ in God’ (Colossians 3.3).

We are not called to cling to the presence of the risen Christ. Instead, like Mary, we are sent to shout out what we have seen We are God’s spies, now, searching for evidence of him in the robes of the gardener, listening for the familiar sound of the beloved voice of the Lord in the unrecognised strangers around us, helping to build the bridges of love that will enable others, too, to hear Jesus’s voice and recognise the vast, free, unchanging, faithful love of God.

This is an extract from my favourite readings on the lectionary, by Jane Williams. (pages 58-59)

Alleluia, he is risen!

He is risen indeed!

A very happy Easter to you all!

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