My sermon (or the notes from which I delivered it) are here.
It’s the season finale.
At the Chester Eastercon, I talked about “spoiler space” – how, on the first Easter weekend, no-one knew how the story was going to end. In today’s Gospel lesson, we see how Mary found out what had happened.
And we see her reaction. Mary couldn’t resist bringing the Good News to the other disciples.
We hear, every year, what happened at Easter. We know the narrative reasonably well.
What we sometimes don’t grasp is what it was like.
People go to church on Palm Sunday, and they hear about Jesus riding into Jerusalem in triumph. People go to church on Easter Sunday, and they hear “Jesus is alive!”
But missing Good Friday – going from Palm Sunday to Easter Sunday – is like missing the first half of a season finale two-parter. The final episode makes no sense, unless you’ve been through Good Friday, as had Mary and the other disciples.
And all of this is part of a much bigger story; starting in season one, we see mankind as the ultimate creation of God within the garden of Eden, and the season ending with man, by disobedience, separating himself from God. In later seasons we have the founding of the Israelite nation, being guided by prophets and judges and kings, and throughout we have prophecies of the time when man and God are properly reconciled.
Now we have the story of Jesus, of God becoming fully human and living on earth with us, specifically in order to bring man and God together, culminating (seemingly) in defeat, in the first part of this season finale two-parter. And, at the time, no-one knew what they were supposed to do next. The sense of defeat was total.
And the final episode of the current season opens with this story – with Mary, Simon and the other disciple turning up at the tomb to clear up, and while it takes a few moments for the penny to drop, she finally realises Jesus is alive!
And the first thing she does is go running off to the other disciples with spoilers.
Of course, we already know what the conclusion of this part of the story is. But try to recapture the mood of the disciples after Friday and before Sunday. And realise what stunning news God had in store for them on that day.
And spread spoilers.
A very happy Easter to you all.