After the Sabbath, at dawn on the first day of the week, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary came to look at the tomb. 

Friends, we have been traveling through a strange and disorienting Lenten season. And on this day when we celebrate the bodily resurrection of Jesus, I feel an overwhelming sense of sadness that our congregations cannot meet together in person to share that joy with one another, to sing, to read the scriptures, to break bread and pour wine. 

I’ve been unable to set aside that sense of loss as I’ve thought about Easter this year, knowing we would be celebrating it in our homes, many of us alone. There are so many layers of grief we are all experiencing in these times, and it will take time for us to process all of it. We cannot rush this.

But as I turned again to our gospel reading, I began to see the scene of that first Easter differently. 

Of course Mary Magdalene and the other Mary were feeling loss too. Grief is very much a part of the Easter story as they mourned the death of their friend, teacher and prophet, the man they called Lord. 

But there’s another absence in the first sentence Matthew’s account of the resurrection (28.1-10) which I had never noticed before: the absence of community. Who was there that first Easter? Not crowds. Not pray-ers. Not the male disciples. Only two women … (and also some soldiers who were patrolling the area to ensure there was no unlawful coming and going — that resonates strongly here where there is a heightened police and military presence enforcing restrictions on movement.)

And those two women came just wanting to see the tomb. Matthew doesn’t tell us they were carrying spices to anoint Jesus’ body, he leaves that detail to Mark and Luke. They’re just there. We don’t know what they were expecting to do, what they were expecting to see, how they expected to feel when they arrived. What’s most important for Matthew is that they show up, that they come at all.

So they’re there. And there’s an earthquake and an angel and an empty tomb. And those two women, on their own, separated from their community, thus become witnesses to the most wondrous and profound event of our faith. 

On most Easters, our services are marked by triumphant exuberant joy. But these are anxious, uncertain times. And some people will be struggling to feel joyful this morning. Others may feel it, but it will be tempered by the pain around us. Maybe we think our joy is inappropriate when there’s so much suffering in the world. Maybe we feel a mix of emotions. Or we just don’t know how we feel. 

But on that first Easter, after the angel had told the women Jesus has been raised from the dead and they are to proclaim this news to the rest of the disciples, what was their response? Joy, sure … but also fear. Joy, no doubt, at the news their Lord was risen and would be amongst them once more … but fear, perhaps, of what the implications of that might be in a world which still felt very uncertain. 

And it’s there, in the midst of their joy and fear, Jesus met them, greeted them, repeated the words of the angel: Do not be afraid.

We know that there is still pain and suffering and death in our world this side of the resurrection. So when Jesus says, Do not be afraid, he isn’t promising that bad things won’t happen. He isn’t telling us that nothing can go wrong. He isn’t assuring us that everything will turn out for the best. 

What he is saying, is that whatever we are feeling, he meets us in the midst of it. Whatever we face, we do not face alone. Whatever happens, nothing is stronger than God’s love. God’s love gets the final word. God’s love will triumph. Do not be afraid, he says.

With these words, Jesus sent the women to go share the good news with his disciples, to report what they have seen, and to tell them he will meet them in Galilee. 

Of course the Galilee is where Jesus lived and walked and ministered. Where he healed the sick and calmed the storm and preached from the mountain. The Galilee is where he told stories and shared food and proclaimed forgiveness. It is where his followers caught glimpses of the kingdom he promised was near. 

And the Galilee is where he and the disciples first met; it was the starting point for their journey together. Because the Galilee was the place his disciples called home. 

What Jesus is saying to the women is: Go tell my brothers to go home. There I will meet them. 

Friends, this Easter looks very different from Easters we have experienced before. We’re all still trying to get our bearings.

So perhaps this is just the reminder of the good news we need, that to bear witness to the resurrected Christ, all that is required is that we show up … carrying whatever we are carrying, expecting whatever we are expecting, feeling whatever we are feeling. In our joy. In our fear. In the garden. In our homes. Our Lord comes to meet us there.

Christ is risen. Alleluia!

5 thoughts on “our lord will meet us there

  1. Happy Easter, Kate 🕊 What a great testimony! Thank you 😊.  In these difficult times, the only certainty is Christ.   I’m sharing my Good Friday poem and my Easter hymn. Christ is risen!  He is risen, indeed! Happy Easter! Best wishes,Freda Stobo

  2. At the Foot of the Cross

    At the foot of the Cross,
    symbol of shame
    and embarrassment;
    warning of terror
    and execution
    to slaves and robbers,
    assassins and rebels;
    Prince of Peace:
    we promise to be symbols
    of your Peace in the World.

    At the foot of the Cross,
    in the darkest hour,
    just before dawn;
    calling to God,
    in your hour of need;
    we hear you promise
    to enter our darkness;
    Light of the World:
    we promise to be symbols
    of your Light in the World.

    At the foot of the Cross,
    though you were despised;
    persecuted and tortured;
    rejected and forsaken;
    you broke the chains
    of slavery to set us free,
    transforming our hearts;
    Resurrection and the Life:
    we promise to be symbols
    of your Love in the World.

    Tune: Sleep My Baby (Suo Gân Lullaby)

    1. You’re the greatest Gift of Love,
    You make everything worthwhile;
    When we learn our lives have purpose,
    Hearts of joy begin to smile.
    Working for you, Lord and Saviour,
    Offering our heart and soul;
    We will find our lives have meaning,
    When we let you take control.

    2. Knowing just how much we’re cherished;
    That your Love is freely given;
    That your Light will guide our footsteps,
    Till we reach the Peace of Heaven.
    Following the plan for our lives,
    Serving others every day;
    Offering our love, Lord Jesus,
    Yours, the Life, the Truth, the Way.

    3. You’re our Saviour; King; Messiah,
    Rising so that we may live;
    Without you, life has no meaning,
    Till, like you, we love, forgive.
    You’re the reason hearts are singing,
    Full of joy! Sing: Hip! Hooray!
    Celebrating Resurrection,
    On this glorious, Easter Day!

  3. He is risen indeed. Alleluia! So lovely to see and hear you today, reading at OSP. Though we are many, we are one Body. Happy Easter! Elspeth xx

  4. Dearest Kate,

    Thank you for this beautiful reflection that sums up the whole gamut of emotions we’ve been experiencing throughout these past weeks, and how it feels today. May you continue to be blessed in all that you are and do. May Christ’s tender love renew you as he wraps you in his arms and holds you close to his heart; as he gently wipes away the tears from your eyes. And may you know God’s strength as you bless others with your presence, your compassion, your love and your care.

    Christ is Risen indeed. Alleluia!

    With my love,

    Grace x

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