Every now and then as I’m working on my computer it begins to slow down and get really sluggish. Things take longer to process – programs take longer to open. And I realise that what I need to do is turn it off and turn it back on again to refresh it. Sometimes our lives are a little like that. We get rundown with all the negativity in the world and sometimes we wonder what the point of it all is. And then comes along Easter Sunday; the day when God restarts our lives again. The day when God reboots our lives that have become so defragmented with worry, work, conflict, and anything else that pulls us in every direction.
God again comes into our lives to bring us back into his love and care by reminding us that Jesus has defeated all the powers of darkness that wage their war against us. Without Jesus and his resurrection we would descend further and further into the depths of darkness.
On the day of Jesus’ resurrection Mary went to the tomb while it was still dark. It was dark both physically because the sun had not yet risen to announce the new day. But it was also dark symbolically as Mary goes to the tomb with a heavy heart because of grief. Jesus was supposed to be the one who would make things different in the world and in her life but he went the way of all people and worse. Not only did he die but he died the most horrific and shameful death. Humiliated in front of family, friends and followers. To add to her disappointment she discovers that Jesus’ body is missing. Suspecting the worse, she believes she is the victim of heartless thieves: They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!” And like so many people who go through difficult times Mary can’t find Jesus amongst her problems. Even though he is there and she is speaking with him she doesn’t experience his presence in her time of crisis because she is so focused on his death.
How often don’t we feel that way? Even though Jesus has promised to be with us always, sometimes he seems to be rather absent when we need him. And then, just when Mary feels as if she has hit rock bottom Jesus reaches out to her and calls her name. And immediately she is revived in her faith. So too we sometimes walk through life aimlessly not knowing where to turn or to whom we should talk. It really does at times feel like we’re walking through the valley of the shadow of death. And then Jesus reaches out to us and reminds us that in our Baptism we were called by name and promised I am with you always.
Jesus knows the feeling of abandonment from when he cried out from the cross – My God, my God, why have you abandoned me. We know that God the Father didn’t abandon his son. Jesus was experiencing the full weight of our sin and what it does to our relationship with God. God doesn’t abandon us either but gives us his Son, our great high priest who is able to empathise with our weakness because he too experienced them. But even more than empathise with us Jesus gives us the way out and leads us to our heavenly Father as he sits at the right hand of his Father interceding for us as does the Holy Spirit who intercedes for us with groanings too deep for words. And that’s why Jesus says to Mary – “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Then notice the change that will come through Jesus’ ascension to heaven.
No longer will God be “the” Father but Jesus says: Go to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” By his death and resurrection Jesus has now completed the reconciliation between us and God. A reconciliation that was needed when our sin drove a wedge into that relationship. The resurrection affirms for us that “it is finished” The virus of sin has been cleansed – our lives have been rebooted – upgraded – a new “father board” or whatever other computer terminology you want to use. And now, like Mary, we are sent to tell the world what Jesus has done for us and for all people. With great excitement Mary rushed to tell the others “I have seen the Lord!”
Let us too, with great excitement rush to tell others “I have seen the Lord” and that Christ is risen – he is risen indeed.