From the Pastor:
April 6, 2020
April 1, 2020
April Newsletter Chat:
John 20:1, Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the tomb.
The Gospel of Mark tells us Mary Magdalene went to the grave with Salome and Mary the mother of James. Picture in your imagination these three women walking silently in the dark and carrying their spices and ointments for Jesus’ body. Full of grief they likely walked in silence as they pondered the death of Christ. Just as many of us walk to the grave sight of a loved one soon after they have passed and think we have nothing to say to those around us. This was likely a quiet walk for the three women and a long walk as they would have gone slowly in the dark with careful steps as they tried not to trip on anything unseen. Is John just trying to set the scene by telling us it is still dark? As with the rest of his gospel John is using the details of the events to tell us something more.
Throughout his gospel John contrasts the darkness and light. In the gospel’s prologue John speaks of Jesus coming as the light coming into a dark world. He reminds us again of Jesus being the light of the world and evil being the darkness. In John 9 and 12, Jesus calls Himself the light of the world. Here again at the tomb John uses the details of this event to point out how Jesus is the light of the world. Mary is not only in physical darkness, but spiritually, psychologically, and emotionally darkness surrounds her as she believes Jesus is dead in the tomb.
John turns the rising of the sun into an illustration of the rising of the true Light of the World. There is a famous quote by C.S. Lewis in which he said, “I believe in Christianity as I believe that the sun has risen: not only because I see it, but because by it I see everything else.” The true light which rose on the first Easter morning was Jesus Christ. John does not tell us when the sun actually rose that morning because it became unimportant. Even if the sun had not risen, the Son of God still did. Jesus’ resurrection means there is life and light in the world, even if the sun refused to rise.
In the midst of this coronavirus outbreak, social isolation, and a halt to many activities we can feel the darkness and the effects of sin and evil around us. Yet, we still celebrate the rising of the Son. The light is still in the world and, as John says, “the darkness did not overcome it.” In times where it is difficult for us to see the light, pray to God to open your eyes and reveal it. In the 1964 Ritual book of the Methodist Church there is a prayer I often use in funeral services. In the prayer there is a line which asks God to “Lift our eyes beyond the shadows of earth, and help us to see the light of eternity.” The light of eternity rose from the dead and showed Himself to Mary in the garden surrounding His tomb. This Easter His light is still shining in the world and regardless of what else is happening the Son is still risen.
In Christ, Pastor Jon
March 25, 2020
March 23, 2020