Psalm 118 reminds us again of its refrain about the steadfast love of God-the refrain we have read before this month. It is a useful reminder as we read of the strange encounter near the tomb of Jesus. Mary of Migdala is weeping. She encounters, what she assumes is the gardener. But it is not the gardener-it is the Christ. It is not someone she recognises until he uses her name, “Mary’. (Jn 20:16). At that something happens and there is a recognition. I wonder if we encounter the Christ person but do not recognise him, or her, because we have our preconceptions and assumptions?
In the gloom of Friday evening and beyond, all thoughts would have been on the death of Jesus. Yet here on Sunday morning, the tomb is empty, the grave cloths folded up and angels announce that the story goes on. It is not all over. Each of us has to sit with this strange story and make of it what we can. For some of us, it is a story of bodily resurrection that is at the essential heart of the Christian story, for others it is the resurrection of the love and vision of Jesus in the Christ. It was a strange encounter that gave a wholly unexpected start to the first Easter day. And it is an encounter we must enter into as Christ’s disciples as and when we can, and how we can. We can only have this encounter in our own individual way and make sense of the strangeness of it all in whatever way we can.
Whatever our understanding of the first Easter day, the message is that the story of love is not over, the grave will not stop the power of love, political power cannot triumph over love. For God’s steadfast love is eternal.