HAPPY EASTER !!
Let the Alleluias ring out with the joyful news that Jesus is arisen and he lives.
Many of us who are fortunate enough to be able to, have over these last two weeks of cornonavirus lockdown, been spending more time in our gardens than we would do normally. It brings into our minds the centrality of a garden within the narrative of the Easter story which on this glorious day comes to its climax.
At the end of the passion in John's gospel which was read on Good Friday, John tells us that :
"at the place where he had been crucified there was a garden, and in this garden a new tomb in which no-one had yet been buried."
The symbolism should jump out and hit us between the eyes.
In the Book of Genesis, we read how God planted a garden in Eden and took Adam and settled him in the garden to cultivate and care for it. Well, we all know the story of what then happened. The fall and its consequence, was that our care for and cultivation of the garden became mired by our sin, and in our turning away from the love of God. We distanced ourselves further and further from God's presence. John the evangelist comprehends the enormity of this moment, and to make the point of how through the death and resurrection of Jesus, our relationship, our encounter, our standing with God is now made new, the setting of our re-creation happens in another garden. It is a beautifully conceived revelation and resonates powerfully as an image of new life coming forth and overwhelming the powers that previously had held us captive. We are truly set free from the bonds that bound us to our sin, to live in the new creation which the risen Christ has now inaugurated.
The point is pushed home by the appearance of the risen Christ to Mary Magdelene. She finds the tomb empty and is bereft, She meets Jesus and mistakes him for the gardener! The irony of it! Who is the gardener in Genesis? It is God. It is only when Mary is spoken to by name that she understands. In the Genesis story Adam and Eve hide from God, afraid of his voice, as he calls to them. Mary however hears Jesus call her by name and recognises Jesus as Rabbuni, Master, and in this moment of revelation is no longer hiding but is evangelising! Obeying the command of Jesus she is sent to tell the disciples "I have seen the Lord." The garden of the fall gives way to the garden of the resurrection.
On this Easter Day let Mary's cry be our cry to our world. "I have seen the Lord"