He Is Risen!

An extraordinary reversal of the way society operates occurs within this simple Easter story. To begin with, the soldiers whose job is to be brave in the face of danger faint with fear. The women, though fearful, face the earthquake, and the radiantly terrifying angels, listen to them and obey their orders. Who are these women? The first mention of them occurs at the crucifixion where they remained with Jesus through the humiliation of the cross. They had stood, faithful in love, in the midst of a murderous crowd. Now, after his death, they had come to express their grief by sitting by the tomb. Until the crucifixion Matthew had not mentioned them. It seems that they have slipped under the radar of ‘important people in the Gospel’. Yet these unimportant ones are the first preachers of the central belief of Christian faith. Another sign of their lack of importance is the fact that as women they were not regarded as suitable witnesses in Jewish Law.

With them, we see the marginalised made central to the Christian faith. These are the kind of people Jesus called ‘blessed’ in the Beatitudes. They are the poor in spirit, the ones who mourn, and they are the ones who see the first fruits of the Kingdom of Heaven. Somehow they had the ability to see past all the distractions to love that the other disciples had gotten caught up in: self-preservation, desire for fame, glory and influence. These women wanted to love and to be loved: to them was given the mission to preach his Resurrection. Within our own circles we know people on the margins: the elderly, sick, the lonely, those suffering from dementia, people overwhelmed by the challenges of life, even people in prison. This list can go on. Christian tradition has honoured service of these people: not because it gives us, who are strong and influential, an opportunity to give from our largesse but rather, with these people and through their eyes, we can see what is truly central to our faith: to love and be loved. When we love with them, we will see the Risen Jesus coming to met us.

Adapted Living Liturgy 2020