Personalising the Easter Story
(A devotion for the season of Easter) Luke 24:1-12 + 8:3
The drama of Easter is variously interpreted by musicians, artists and wordsmiths, and so we are called to interpret what Easter means for us, individually and ‘down-under’. We don’t have to believe alike; Christians are only commanded to love alike – as Jesus loved God and neighbour. One way is to personalise the Easter stories – imagine how it may have been for someone who was there. Joanna is one of the women who travelled with and supported the disciples. She is only mentioned by Luke.
Joanna: All I know is when I went to the Tomb He wasn’t there. It had been so terrible, our beloved teacher betrayed and treated with atrocious cruelty. The men couldn’t bear to watch but we women stayed. As women we know pain and how it is to be helpless. It’s harder for men because they feel they must do something.
It was some comfort to know He had a decent tomb and burial cloths. I made it my business to thank Joseph. The others were overawed by him being a member of the council. Coming from the court of Herod I know how to address men of rank. I was pleased that my funds had lasted sufficiently to buy the spices and perfumes that should accompany a noble burial.
We women were worrying about how we would move the stone but when we arrived the stone was rolled away. Had the body had been stolen? We entered and yes the tomb was empty. It’s hard to describe what happened, none of us can recall it accurately. It was unreal, a vision I suppose, light, angels, or perhaps men in dazzling garments. Whatever it was we were so scared we flung ourselves to the ground. No one got a good look, but one thing we agree on was the voices. We all heard the same message, “Why do you seek the living among the dead?” Some thought they heard more words but I’m not sure. I’m not even sure the voice came though sound, it was more something I felt. The light vanished and then so did we. We ran all the way back to the disciples. They didn’t believe us. But then Peter decided to check for himself and he saw the folded linen.
Later Mary Magdalene encountered Him in the garden. She told us she was crying so much she could hardly see, and I wonder if she heard a voice in the way I did. I don’t know what happened and I don’t know where He is. But He doesn’t seem far away. He feels particularly near when I am in a garden. The new growth of the spring reminds me there is always hope, despite winter life goes on. All flowers wither and vanish then months later they reappear as beautiful as ever.
It is autumn now and in this garden trees are turning red and gold. Leaves are covering the ground in soft drifts of colour. The colour won’t last but for now it is stunning. The fallen leaves are the colours of crusty bread and wine. I drink it in and store the memory. I remember the things He taught us. His words nourish my soul. I know His work is continuing. The Apostles are spreading the word and groups of believers are quietly meeting in many places. Leaves are like His words they fall and nourish the earth. Soon they will fade and vanish but their goodness is not wasted. Goodness is never wasted.
A LIGHT FOR ALL SEASONS
Silently approaches spring
gliding on thawed angel wing
green shoots clasped in prayer
unfurl late in the antipodean year
our summer comes with angelic host
while northern folks have winter roast
we witness miracles of birth and flower
green the growth in our summer bower
Christ light comes
amid summer fun
a revelation here
a warm-fuzzy there
the lazy hazy days roll by
mindless of the clouding sky
autumn winds whinge apathy
stripping leaf from summer tree
spinning seed through savage air
the wrenching repeats every year
a Lenten chill lets good things die
the angered crowd cries crucify
blood lust appetites are whet
death they want death they get
then comes denial and despair
borne on stinging autumn air
we muffle our ears but see Christ bleed
hope is buried with the wind flung seed
But as is the kernel Christ springs eternal