“Jesus said to her, “Woman, why are you weeping? Who are you looking for?” Supposing he was the gardener, she replied, “Sir, if you carried him off, tell me where you laid him, and I will get him.” Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned and replied in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means, “Teacher”) John 20: 15,16
There are many beautiful windows in our church and one of them is especially meaningful at this time of year. It is on the south-side of the sanctuary and depicts Mary kneeling in astonishment before the risen Jesus. She kneels there in the garden with her arms raised in amazement, or in praise and thanksgiving for His presence before her. It is a singular moment in the Mary’s life and in the story of Christ’s resurrection appearances. For this beautiful window captures the first moment she experiences the wonder and power of an encounter with the living Lord – an Easter moment, her Easter moment.
Mary’s encounter is repeated again and again in the Gospel stories of Jesus’ resurrection appearances with the disciples. Individually, in groups, small and large, the disciples experienced that first encounter with the living Lord. These encounters often begin with a feeling of fear and bewilderment, but then there is an overwhelming feeling of peace, joy and relief. The Disciples now affirm that He is alive, they have seen him, touched him, felt his love and sensed his peace. From these Easter moments they go out and proclaim that the one who was crucified, who died and was buried, is now fully alive. They talk about eating with Him, talking with Him as they walk along, and listening to His teachings.
This Easter encounter and Easter moment is repeated over and over again by believers and disciples who knew and travelled with Jesus, but then this Easter moment is experienced by countless hundreds of others who never met Him before. People in distant cities and countries began to affirm that they too had an Easter moment. In years and centuries to come women, men and even children proclaim Jesus as teacher and Lord, as Mary did, as Peter and John did, as Saul/Paul came to acknowledge. Jesus is alive to you and to me. He is a living presence to be experienced in love, hope and joy
This Easter moment is not something that happened in the past. It is not confined to those special few people long ago but is an experience all of us can celebrate and share.
On Easter Sunday, during the whole month of April and year-rounddo we gather as a community of faith to thank God for our own Easter Moment, when we experience Christ’s love.
In love and Joy;
Rev. Donald M. Pitches