Sometimes I think I’ve been a Christian too long. That’s nothing to do with doubt or boredom; rather it’s the familiarity with which I approach the scandalous miracles of my faith. Christmas becomes shopping and hospitality and turkey instead of God weaving himself into history and nature and politics, his story dancing with our own.
And then that miracle of incarnation finds its fulfilment in Holy Week, the terrifying vulnerability of God on Friday, the controversies of God washing feet and getting crucified… They’re easy to take for granted now, two thousand years later, and it’s easy to forget how revolutionary and radical it all was.
And then Sunday; the tomb is empty. And despite the hints and prophecies, no-one seems to have expected what happened. We’re too used to it; it’s hard to put ourselves in the shoes of those who were there at the time, the people dealing with the pain and heartbreak and fear of current events. To them it was life, not a festival.
And we can’t just view Easter as a festival; it’s the finale of a story. We see some of this in John’s determination in reminding us that Jesus was buried and rose in a garden. The epic that started with Eden, with the Fall, with the introduction of pain and death and conflict into the human experience is resolved here, the two gardens acting as cosmic bookends. Adam falls, Jesus rises… No wonder Mary mistook him for the gardener.
Mary. There’s another controversy. The first witness to the resurrection was not only a woman, which immediately made her suspect to the power structures of the time, but a woman with a past. The story of Easter is passed on through the marginalised and broken, and not only are lives restored but they’re sanctified and made greater by the presence of God. This isn’t just compassion for the marginalised, this is taking the marginalised and making them saints.
We can’t forget this part of the story. We can’t forget any of it, or lose it amid bunnies and familiarity. This Easter, let’s pray that we’ll see the season with new eyes; let’s pray for a greater vision of resurrection.