“The Big Bang”
There have actually been two ‘Big Bangs’ in the history of the universe. The first was God being explosive at the point of Creation, fifteen billion years ago. The second was God being explosive at the point of Resurrection, two thousand years ago: a new creation, a new beginning, a new Adam, a new life.
20 Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. 2 So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”
3 So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. 4 Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. 5 He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. 6 Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, 7 as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen. 8 Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb first, also went inside. He saw and believed. 9 (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.) 10 Then the disciples went back to where they were staying.
11 Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb 12 and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot.
13 They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?”
“They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” 14 At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus.
15 He asked her, “Woman, why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?”
Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.”
16 Jesus said to her, “Mary.”
She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means “Teacher”).
17 Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’”
18 Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.
The first people there at the tomb were the last ones there on Friday night. The women are still devoted, still courageous and still sad. How can simple words capture the impossible and the indescribable? We are left with a series of images: mourners turning up with flowers and spices before dawn; a stone rolled away; a grave desecrated; breathless messages and men running to see for themselves; a strange angelic presence and most beautiful and memorable of all: Mary mistaking the risen Jesus for the gardener.
The stories are simple and human, not at all big and dramatic. They carry the hallmark of authenticity and truth.
This is a day of joy, even amidst the coronavirus pandemic.
This is a day of delight, even in the face of death of loved ones.
This is a day of celebration, even when we are isolated in our homes.
How can we celebrate Easter at home? Could you make more of a fuss with your meal this day? Could you put on some party clothes? What about putting on some music that lifts you mood, maybe gets you dancing? What about worship music? Of course there will be a morning service on the St Luke’s Facebook page that you can join us live for, or watch again later.
Think also about how to share this good news. Could you speak to people on the phone and wish them a Happy Easter? You might even want to phone people from church and say, “Christ is Risen!” To which the response (if any of us get this call) is, “He is Risen Indeed, Alleluia!”