Daily Update #245

St. John’s SouthbourneDaily Reflection by Mike WilsonToday’s Readings – Acts 2:36-41.   Psalm 33:4-5, 18-22. John 20:11-1811 Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb 12 and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot. 13 They asked her, “Woman, why are you crying?” “They have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I don’t know where they have put him.” 14 At this, she turned round and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realise that it was Jesus. 15 “Woman”, he said, “why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?” Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.” 16Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned towards him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher). 17Jesus said, “Do not hold on to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father. Go instead to my brothers and tell them, ‘I am returning to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God’ ”. 18 Mary Magdalene went to the disciples with the news: “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them that he had said these things to her.‘In John 20:11-18 we have one of the most dramatic, personal and moving stories in the New Testament. Here we see Mary in her ultimate time of crisis. Unlike some of the disciples, she had been at the foot of the cross when she had seen her Lord unjustly and cruelly crucified. Now his body has disappeared from the garden tomb. Mary, who had left her chequered past to become one of Jesus’s most loyal and devoted followers, is totally without hope. She is bereaved, bereft and bewildered. Suddenly, the person Mary had taken to be the gardener and who had already spoken to her, speaks to her by name and instantly she knows it is Jesus. Having seen and heard her risen Lord, Mary’s time of intense and hope-less crisis was over’.Today’s lectionary reading is the same it was for 7th April 2020! So I am sure you all recall well the above paragraph from my third Daily Reflection (out of 41 so far)! That reflection began with a quote from G. Campbell Morgan: “What we do in the crisis always depends on whether we see the difficulties in the light of God, or God in the shadow of the difficulties”. How well we have done since last Easter? Better than we once feared? Today’s focus is upon Jesus’s words in verse 17 – “I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.” Last year I had not appreciated just how much Jesus includes us in His relationship with God, His Father. All disciples share in this very special privilege. St Augustine pointed out that “Jesus says not Our Father’: in one sense therefore, He is mine, in another sense He is yours; by nature mine, by grace yours... my God, under whom I also am as a man; your God, between whom and you I am a mediator. As a result of that first Easter we can all be restored children, no longer separated by our sins from Yahweh, our loving Father and our God. This has all been achieved by Jesus’s obedient death and victorious resurrection.In Romans 8 St Paul wrote “The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs – heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in His glory. I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us” (v16-17). God’s roadmap out of futility and fear, and out of the consequences of our sins, is not tentative and subject to change. It is solid, true and centred upon Jesus who has gone before us as our Lord, brother and friend.   Today’s Prayer: We thank you Lord Jesus for all the suffering you willingly endured for us during that first Easter. Help us to show our gratitude for this in the way we walk with you each day. Thank you Father for welcoming us back with forgiveness and joy as your restored children, for ever. Amen.                            (Mike W)