“Until this moment, they failed to understand.”
I think we are on the side of the disciples in this. People who die and then rise from the dead, is not part of our ordinary human experience. You know, that’s not the kind of thing that we’re used to happening. It is not as though that we are now in our 21st century sophistication with all of our ability to sequence genomes and all of the incredible advances that we’ve made.
Right, we are the ones who are able to understand, you know, when dead things are dead and back in the past the ancients didn’t quite understand that you know, they thought that you know miraculous things kind of happened.
No, the ancients knew the dead stay dead, so of course the disciples couldn’t understand.
What on earth Jesus meant when on at least three separate occasions, he predicts that he will suffer, that he will go through the terrible turmoil of the passion, but that on the third day he will.
He will rise.
He will be raised to new life.
We can also struggle with this.
We can also try and make sense of what does this mean?
How do we make sense of this for ourselves?
How do we come into the sense of what God is doing in this and why does it really matter?
Why does it impact?
Why does it change anything in our own lived experience, today?
Today the author of the Gospel of John – I mean we call him John because that’s what the tradition has dictated. But like all of the gospel authors, they wanted to be anonymous. They haven’t named themselves as the author of these incredible works, but we also presume it’s the author who is here as part of the scene of the disciple that Jesus loved and he tells us.
Clearly that it was on the morning of the first day of the week. The 8th day, if you like. The day after the Great Sabbath was still dark. It’s a wonderful thing. I’ve done it a few times now to celebrate this great mass of Easter, the Easter Vigil, very early on this Sunday morning, you know, while it’s still dark and then for the dawn to slowly arise as you celebrate the resurrection.
But it was on the darkness was still there, and the darkness was still in their hearts, ’cause they hadn’t yet understood what had happened. And what difference this was going to make in their lives. But then, as the dawn begins to break and the realization begins to slowly be present among them, and they’re able to start to see.
Now, with eyes made bright, with eyes now changed and transformed by this Word of Faith that has been addressed and spoken into their hearts, into their lives.
It’s the transformation that all of us need if it’s just left to us and it’s just left to our determinations and our ability of our brains to be able to kind of process things and to work through things we never arrive at any kind of adequate solution.
It’s only when there is that slow dawning when there is that. Ability to have the scales as it were taken away from our eyes were able to see. Now John began his gospel by talking about that reality of light and darkness. The very first act of creation, and the very opening page of Scripture in Genesis one speaks about that separation of the day from the night, and it’s all in order for us to have that sense of movement. Through our lives, God is always there.
He’s always there.
In the movement.
He’s always there, in the simple things he’s there as part of our ordinary experiences.
But he also knows that we so often get it wrong. We so often misunderstand we so often fail to be able to live in the fullness of this present moment. We are locked in that darkness.
We lost were locked in their inability to understand, to see and to experience.
But just as the women who came to the tomb, were slowly were able to see this change and transformation; just as Peter and John as they went running to the tomb that morning: they, not knowing what to expect, not really knowing you know what?
What were they going to see when they arrived at the scene, but slowly as they look through there is that change in that transformation.
So the seeing of the eyes is changed and transformed into a seeing of the heart.
That’s where the resurrection happens.
That’s where the change happens.
And the difference, because in our lives when we are able to know the reality of God, not just externally or just through observation, but through that lived encounter and the lived experience, Jesus is alive, Jesus is real. Jesus did not stay dead on the third day, but the father’s love would bring to him this fullness of life. The transformation of the resurrected body so changed and so transformed that the disciples who loved him weren’t even able to recognize him at 1st until there’s a beautiful scene.
The next scene, immediately in the Gospel of John with Mary is there lost in her weeping, lost in her confusion, unable to make sense of who this is.
When this stranger comes. And there’s this wonderful little aside. Note that the author tells us Mary Magdeleine, thinking that he was the gardener, you know, said where have you taken him?
Show me where you have laid his body so that I can go and mourn with him there.
It’s a beautiful side note because it situates us in the garden.
Reminds us this is the act of new creation justice in Genesis we get the story of the first creation. We heard it last night for those who are here at the vigil, but that transformation of that beautiful place where God would dwell among his people. And now this garden fulfilled with morning, filled with Mary’s weeping and her tears.
And suddenly it’s all changed as the man who is now revealed to be Jesus simply turns to her and calls her by her name Mary, and that’s enough for her.
May also be enough for each of us.
God will call us by name.
God will address us.
God will speak into the depths of our hearts into the depths of all those darknesses into the depths of that confusion.
To call us back into life.
The resurrection happens when we let the Holy Spirit to be present in.
The resurrection happens when each of us discovers the reality of the love of God.
Lives when we let that in breath of God’s life fill us and transform all of those doubts and all that confusion into questions that begin to make sense. Now because we’ve got black and white answers because we’ve found the love of our life, and we found that love that transforms us and that love that changes us into people that are.
Actually able to embrace the wonderful reality of God.
Let us let’s indeed be the Easter people.
Let people who make alleluia to be a song.
Let’s be proud of that declaration that yes, Jesus is alive because I’ve discovered him.
I’ve encountered him and I am loved by him.
- Easter Sunday morning, Year B
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