Have You Seen Him?
The first of our two Easter Eye-Witnesses... Delivered in the beautiful surroundings of walled garden of Sir Thomas and Lady Dixon Park this morning as part of our communion service... bathed in early monring sunlight and accompanied by birdsong.
I saw him… with my own eyes… although I didn’t recognize him at first… it must have been the tears… I thought he must have been the gardener, and I gave him a hard time about where they had put the body… I can’t imagine what he thought… I gabbled on until he said “Miriam”… My name… though you know me as Mary…
Whatever way he said my name cut through my distress and confusion and I saw him as clearly as I see you now… my dear teacher… “Rabboni” I said as I rushed to embrace him… But he wouldn’t let me… Something about not holding him back from returning to his father… So I didn’t… But he asked me to go and tell his friends and family that he had risen and was returning to his Father God…
So I did… to a mixed reception… but they saw that I was right in the end when they saw him themselves…
Although I was angry at the time that they wouldn’t all believe me, I realized later that it was predictable… Of course they wouldn’t believe a grief-stricken woman… Even when we’re in our right minds a woman’s testimony is only worth a fraction of a man’s in court… And that morning I will admit I wasn’t in my right mind…
But again, as I thought on it later, how typical of God to allow me, a woman, to be the first person to see the Master risen from the dead… and in a garden too… So many women-hating religious teachers justify their position by pointing the finger of blame at a woman in a garden for bringing sin into the world… when Eve gave in to the serpent’s temptation…
Was this Father God being funny? Or was he bringing things strangely full circle?
I don’t know… I’ll leave the religious teachers to work that one out… But me? I just know that I have seen the risen Lord… Have you seen him?
Creator of life and light
As we gather in this garden in the light of the morning sun
We give thanks for another garden where on Easter morning long ago
Your Son rose from the dead
Heralding a new beginning for all creation.
May we celebrate with joy his glorious resurrection
And be set free from the power of sin and the fear of death
Through faith in him who is alive and reigns with you
In the unity of the Holy Spirit, one God
Now and forever more. AMEN