I took two services yesterday and as you might expect thought about the Easter story but took it from a slightly different angle.
I began by asking the congregation if they remembered the TV programme TW3 which of course was also known as 'that was the week that was'. Quite a few of the did remember it and I went on to share with folk a little of what I had been up to this last week which had been very busy (only one night when I wasn't doing anything). I then brought the folks thinking round to the week that Jesus and the disciples had and the whole range of emotions they would have gone through - imagine the joy and excitement of the entry into Jerusalem and then the sadness and grief as the Lord was taken from them and died.
And then we get to Easter day with Mary going off to the grave and finding what in her mind must have been the absolute worst case scenario - the body of her Lord was missing. Imagine how fast she must have run back to tell the other disciples and the state she was in when she got there. I think she may have had a bit of a job persuading the disciples that the body was missing, after all they were solid sensible men. When she did persuade them they too ran to look in the tomb only to find that Mary was right. I think this would have been an interesting scene - perhaps Mary might even have said I told you so!!
Of course there was more to come - their emotions must already have been over the place and Mary stayed in the garden for a while where she saw what she thought was the gardener and she engaged him in conversation asking if he knew where the body was - the 'gardener' then said just one word 'Mary' and immediately her blinded eyes and deaf ears were opened to the fact that here was her Lord - risen from the dead.
Now it may be that she broke the four minute mile the first time but I guess this time she would have run even faster and been even more agitated when she got back and shared with the disciples that she had seen the Lord. I would have liked to have been a fly on the wall to see and hear the disciples reaction to this one.
The thing that really struck me about this story this year was the deafness and blindness of Mary to the presence of her Lord. I wonder how often we are like Mary in that we neither see or hear the Lord - sometimes possibly because we choose not to. And how about the world - how much of Jesus have they seen this Easter or were their eyes blinded by the eggs and bunnies and hot cross buns of the commercialised Easter?
I pray that the various processions of witness and re-enactments of the story along with the various open airs and things like the dressing of crosses will be a tangible witness to the greatest story ever told and may bring people to enquire what we were doing and why? I pray too that we will be able to share with folk what it was all about and what it was all for.