by The Rt Revd Kate Wilmot | Assistant Bishop of Perth
In the Name of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Amen.
In the past two weeks, print media and advertising brochures have been full of suggestions for how I can spend the four days of the Easter weekend. Activities include complex home renovation projects [no] or hotel deals where I can have a sumptuous meal and meet the Easter Bunny [also no].
These activities, innocent in themselves, are a world away from the gigantic themes and concepts we grapple with as the Church - at Easter and on every week throughout the year.
In the great three days of Easter, we hear again the words of Jesus as he broke bread with his disciples, the very words that we pray every week as we celebrate
We confront the consequences of human sin and evil in ourselves and others as we recount the shades of duplicity and cowardice among Jesus’ disciples, the vengeful, changeable nature of crowds, and the machinations of Roman Imperial rule.
When the one who came to be God-with-us is crucified, we are forced to abandon the idea that human decision-making on its own is ever going to be a path to peace or progress.
We are struck into silence by the absolute resolve of Jesus who will not be moved off his mission of bringing healing and release, in spite of personal and public rejection, and punishments that have been designed and adjusted to inflict humiliation as well as tormenting pain.
On Holy Saturday, just when we are not ready to wait, we wait.
Even though the next part of the story is known to us, we are made to hold still – prevented from rushing ahead to the good bit. Instead we are left to consider the meaning of all that has happened, to look deeply at the events of Jesus’ betrayal and death and all that it means for us.
On Easter Day, we bring our rejoicing at the resurrection of Jesus into the community of the Church.
Jesus’ rising from death is so mysterious, so different from anything any of us might expect about the world and the way that it operates, that even the Gospel writers leave the actual moment of resurrection alone.
We hear lots of details about angels sitting on rocks, Mary weeping, and disciples racing each other to the tomb but nothing whatsoever about what happened inside at the moment that Jesus was raised from death.
The disciples, the evangelists, the authors of New Testament letters – not one of them dares make up a story about the point when Jesus returns to life.
It is simply too huge and important.
The resurrection of Jesus mattered so much to the first people to believe in its power that they got together the very next week on the anniversary of resurrection morning, and the week after that, and the week after that for thousands of years. For the same reason, we gathered in church last Sunday (the weekly anniversary of Resurrection Day).
This Holy Week, these Great Three Days of Easter, Christian believers focus intently on what it means to be forgiven through the actions of Jesus, to be offered a life that is not temporal [bound by time and ended by death] but eternal – in the never fading presence of God.
The Church’s Easter celebrates the most generous, the most profound and the most healing of all second chances.
We are given a transformed past, a secure present, and a new future.
It is about so much more than doing a few repairs and hiding chocolate from children.
This year, may the mystery and depth of Easter unlock new meaning and reflection for you.
Image: The Resurrection of Christ, from the right wing of the Isenheim Altarpiece, c1512-16, oil on panel, Matthias Grunewald (c1480-1528)