So a week ago we were in Easby, on a warm spring morning Celebrating Palm Sunday with Palm Crosses and hosanna’s Since then throughout this week We have shared a Churches Together Evening service Where we let the cross take all of our sins We sat, ate and drank together in a Tenebrae Service Where we shared the last supper As we headed further into the darkness anticipating Good Friday Then we have the disciples not able to stay awake in Gethsemane We have the arrest And the trials of Jesus Then we have the cross of crucifixion.. And a stone Stones we laid on the cross Giving to Jesus all we are and all that separates us from him Then the stone which covered the tomb Where Jesus’ body lay Yesterday in our Easter Vigil Service at Easby I met a man who was lving with such confusion Joy at the birth of his new grandson And such a depth of sadness As he and his wife nurse their very sick daughter The confusion of joy and despair together.. The gentleman’s daughter has written a poem about Gethsemane about the transition from life to death of the torture within the heart, mind and soul of the confusion, fear and despair.. let me read it to you now… I close my eyes. My translucent form drifts into the past from the bed where I’m lying in the present and I’m back in that garden with you. My ghost self glides into your body, occupying the same exact place in time and space as you. Kneeling here, we reside within each other. My heart cradles your heart, beating as one. We wait together, the rest of the world falling still – distant and alien while we hold our breath and try to beat back the panic. If it is possible, may this cup be taken away from me we plead over and over, desperation and distress overwhelming the soul to the point of death. Then the horror of reality: we are not going to be spared, we are not going to be rescued, not this time, not right now. We are loved but we are not going to be saved from this. And it hurts. It doesn’t feel like love. Each breath stings with grief. I know this territory well; my soul is the perfect companion for yours tonight. We hold on tight. Your heart cradles my heart. We are one in Gethsemane. If it is possible, may this cup be taken away from me. © J.K.Rowbory 2014 – All Rights Reserved No part of this poem may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means without the prior permission of the author. I also met a lady who is struggling so much financially That she has to make choices between Wearing sanitary protection, feeding her family And heating her house. Confusion that a few months ago all was well and now due to sickness all is far from well. I’m sure the lady wishes her particular cup could be taken away… And there is a snapshot of life Of the life experience just two people .. So today April 1st, April fool’s day Against the back drop of the messy confused world I can see why so many people think us fools Fools to come into a cold stone building At an unearthly hour on a Sunday When all around is confusion Shock and despair Fools to trust, believe and have faith.. It was into a similar state of shock Despair and confusion that first Easter Morning.. that Mary returned to the tomb she and others had left Jesus on Friday Yet for us with hind site We know there is an absolute joy in the stone being moved Yet that first Eater morning Finding the stone moved Seeing the body was not there I am totally with the disciples I get how they did not understand it I feel their confusion Their despair and their shock….. On that dark Friday afternoon Around 3pm Jesus’ friends had watched him breath his last Heard him entrust himself to Father God.. The friends had carried his broken body And laid it in a tomb The tomb of someone else.. Even in death Jesus did not have an earthly home. The disciples were grieving Lacking understanding Confused by the events of the last week Asking again and again How could all of our hopes and dreams ended this way? I imagine Simon Peter was especially confused He had denied even knowing Jesus three times.. This was his friend The one he had seen transfigured on the mountain The one whom he had called Lord.. Simon Peter had denied knowing Jesus And what must be dreadful for him Is knowing that Jesus knew he would do this.. Did Simon think, Well that’s it, Jesus knows the truth of my cowardice My fear.. My weakness He had known it all along And just pretended Pretended to build me up.. Pretended it was him on whom Jesus would build his Church? Confusion.. Questions .. Despair.. And it is in to that mind set That grief That guilt That fear That Mary ran on Easter Morning.. Mary …. Ran to Simon Peter And to John.. Absolutely desperate “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb..” Can you imagine what these words would have done To Peter and to John..? We sanitise the truth of this experience imagine what it would be like if we were to turn up here one Sunday and see graves open and empty? Would we call 999 Or would we like those confused desperate disciples Simply go home… Home where we are familiar.. Where we can respond as we need in the privacy of our safe space.. Yet Mary… She did not return home Mary stode outside the tomb and wept I think I would have been like Mary Just there, unable to move confused.. bereft.. broken.. Unable to leave.. And in that disbelief Mary Mary through her tears Checked just one last time that Jesus’ body was not where she knew he was left and as she took that last look saw two angels in white Again… the language sanitises this.. “There were two angels in white” As if this is an every day experience… And not only are there two angels But they actually speak to Mary Asking her Why are you weeping? This day for Mary is turning ever stranger The empty tomb of the man who had saved her from herself The disciples coming along And then going home Now an angel… In my minds eye I can see why the angel asks the question of Mary Because right behind her.. It sounds like a pantomime doesn’t it Where is he? He’s behind you.. Yet in Mary’s case This is no pantomime Because the net thing she hears is Jesus And all he says is …. “Mary” The minute he speaks she recognises him Mary knows it is Jesus And in her delight Mary ran again To the disciples I have seen the Lord.. I bet they thought here we go again.. Mary is getting ill again.. Yet once again The confusion The human judgement Is transformed by the resurrected power of Jesus.. The disciples The men learned from a woman The truth of the resurrected Christ Jesus.. Continuing to do all things new From the moment of his resurrection .. Lifting up the vulnerable Giving voice to the oppressed These are confusing things for the men of the time These would be confusing things for Mary Yet that is the truth of who Jesus is He redeems He transforms He confronts unhelpful behaviours WHY … Because he loves us And in the years to follow We see Peter this brash fisherman Who got so much wrong about Jesus finally gets it As we read Peter Speaking in Acts.. as he says.. I truly understand that God shows no partiality .. Simon Peter as he writes in Acts finally knows Jesus is Lord! All the Disciples went through The doubt The confusion The mistrust as we heard from Thomas Unless I can put my fingers in his side I will not believe Yet as Jesus appeared Thomas did not need to do those things He just knew Jesus is Lord.. We hear the Easter Story year after year Yet the enormity of it Is lost in the language Our familiarity Our dare I say apathy… I wonder have we lost the significance of Jesus’ resurrection, and what that means for each of us all these years after the event ? It can feel like the news paper Used to wrap chips It’s old news.. The question I am asking yet again Is so what What difference does that make to me..? Well .. I can tell you the difference the truth of the resurrection makes It means I can stand here at every single funeral I can sit with all those who mourn Those who are experiencing the utter despair of life And I can say With integrity do not be afraid Just take the hand of Jesus Let him speak your name Let him love you Hold you in life and in death… Whatever life brings However confusing life is Jesus has won the victory over death Over sin Over our lives Over our deaths.. As Peter Pan said to Captain Hook I think death will be a great adventure It certainly was for Jesus It certainly will be for us.. But until that time Let’s each of us be clear Let each of us not be confused Let each of us know That no matter where we run to No matter what we don’t understand No matter how confused How sad How scared we are Jesus Christ is risen today Amen .