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Easter

“Mary came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed.”

Many years ago when we lived in a Kentish village we had a car port, a corrugated plastic roof on sticks. Early one morning walking into the garden I was stunned to discover it empty. A panic set in, had I left the car somewhere else? Where was I last night anyway? Perhaps I had left the handbrake off and it had rolled down the drive? Now when something alarming happens it is your first instinct to tell someone; Frances came running down the stairs setting off towards the car port and finding it empty, wondered what had happened.

Mary runs to the disciples, distressed and out of breath from her hard running she gasps out without pre-amble or explanation: “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb and we do not know where they have laid him.” Her mind is all anxiety “What new outrage have they inflicted on him?” Peter and the other disciple rush to witness the awful truth for themselves.

The explanation for my car was simple. A local burglar, known to the police, had carried out a successful night’s work in the village and in need of a taxi to carry his loot had borrowed my car. He had taken an early morning train from Paddock Wood railway station to his usual fence in the Charing Cross road and my car was found neatly garaged in the station car park. Replacing the lock and making good the paintwork was enough to ensure that afterwards nothing really had changed.

But when Jesus was found everything changed. This resurrection was singular; there had been nothing like it before nor anything since. You may have Lazarus still in mind from the visit to Bethany but Lazarus, awakened from his grave, has a mortality and was still to die again. Jesus was raised bodily from the dead but with a transformed embodiment, which Mary did not recognize, until he approached her. As the prayer of committal used at funerals and burials tells us:

“in sure and certain hope of the resurrection to eternal life trough our Lord Jesus Christ who will transform our frail bodies that they may conform to his glorious body.”

The promise of resurrection is not life as we know it, not more of the same but something completely new.

I do like eggs – they are wondrous. When we had geese, at around this time of year mother goose would retire to her nest to sit patiently for weeks on end. During this time the eggs did not appear to change, you could look at them daily and there was no sign of activity. Yet the miracle of birth was going on inside those shells and suddenly would burst forth in unheralded adorable yellow fluff.

God sent his only son as a witness to His eternal love and Jesus’ resurrection is the sign of the miracle of death. For Jesus burst forth from the tomb to tell Mary to tell us that all had changed:

“I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.”

This is the joy of Easter day.

Amen

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