Collect and Readings for Easter Day – Acts 10:34-43, Isaiah 65:17-25, Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24, 1 Corinthians 15:19-26, John 20:1-8, Luke 24:1-12

The Prayer for today Lord of all life and power, who through the mighty resurrection of your Son overcame the old order of sin and death to make all things new in him: grant that we, being dead to sin and alive to you in Jesus Christ, may reign with him in glory; to whom with you and the Holy Spirit be praise and honour, glory and might, now and in all eternity. Amen.

Throughout the whole world on Easter Day Christians are celebrating the most extraordinary event. Death, the most final thing we know as humans, has been the setting for the greatest regeneration story of all time. Jesus of Nazareth, handed over to the Roman authorities for execution and a cursed death, has been raised to a kind of life never before experienced. He has a body, the scars are still visible, he talks, listens and eats. Yet he is no longer bound by space or time.

In Christ’s risen nature we sense the stirring of that new life described by Isaiah, freed from all the tragedy and pain of mortal life, and full of hope, joy and overwhelming fulfilment. But the resurrection stories are about people who are emotionally confused and drained. The exhausting events of the past week have them seeing but not recognising, wondering and agonising but not immediately able to make sense of anything. And that is so human and reassuring for us to read. So often it takes us years of living before we eventually grasp something of God’s involvement in our journey or our pain.

So often the evidence of his real, loving presence is staring us in the face, and yet we assume any number of other factors are responsible, much as Mary assumed Jesus was the gardener. And Peter was wallowing so deeply in his own misery and pessimism that he probably wouldn’t have noticed Jesus if he had been standing there next to him. It may well have been that Jesus was!

With great gentleness and courtesy Jesus holds back on revealing the full power and vibrancy of his new life, so as to lead people at their own pace to recognise the astounding truth. He lets them see only what they are capable of assimilating, for he loves them, and has no desire to scare or overwhelm. That is just as true for us today. The more we seek this risen Lord, the more of him we will notice, recognise and delight in.

Some things to reflect on:

• What difference does it make to you that Jesus is alive for all time since that first Easter Day?

• How can we help others to recognise the living Jesus in this generation and in our community?

Alleluia! Christ is Risen. He is Risen indeed. Alleluia!

God bless and stay safe and well.

Rev’d Fiona Robinson