Thoughts from the Vicarage
Easter Day 2020
Readings: Acts 10.34-43; Matthew 28.1-10
Do you ever wake up after a restless night and breathe a sigh of relief that the bad dreams you had were just dreams and nothing to be afraid of? After some recent restless nights, I admit it has been scary to wake up and realise that these “bad dreams” reflect the very real anxieties many of us are waking up to every day as we live in the shadow of the COVID 19 pandemic.
The disciples and other followers and friends of Jesus may also have woken up on the Saturday and Sunday mornings following “Good Friday” hardly able to believe the events of recent days that had taken their leader, their teacher, their friend from them and that he has been subjected to horrific death by crucifixion.
Matthew 28 takes us straight into what happens next. It’s almost as if the women have to go to the tomb of Jesus as early as possible to come to terms with what had taken place. Perhaps they longed for some peace and stillness by the grave. What they got was much more dramatic. An earthquake, then an angel appears, casually rolls back the boulder in front of the tomb and then sits down on it for a pastoral chat. The guards are terrified but the women are made of stronger stuff. “Don’t be afraid, Jesus is risen, come and see where he lay, then go and tell the other disciples” are the angel’s instructions. That’s exactly what they do. The next chapter of the story was just beginning. This account would soon be repeated, or in today’s terms, “re-tweeted”, over and over and again. The Bible reading from Acts 10 is an update from about 10 years after Jesus resurrection as the early church grows around the Mediterranean.
While writing this I have been reminded of going to Spring Harvest, a big Christian event, for the first time back in the 1980s. One of the main speakers and author of many Christian books was Tony Campolo. Almost every time he spoke he would include and encourage everyone to join in with the chant “It’s Friday but Sunday’s coming”, “It’s Friday but Sunday’s coming”. Good Friday was a day of tragedy but Easter Sunday is a day of triumph. Let’s believe it.
“Alleluia Christ is risen. He is risen indeed. Alleluia!”
Revd Jonathan Watkins, Vicar, St Mary’s Knutton