In reading the Easter Story this year, various thoughts and ideas have come to the fore but not necessarily connected in any way.
With various controversial topics in the Australian news, people have had their say which is always good, but I would like to have read an article on the woman anointing Jesus with a very costly jar of ointment and people's reaction to this. We read in the Bible of Judas' disgust but as the treasurer of the group, we later learn that Judas had been helping himself to the public purse and that reminded me of the times I have heard critical and decidedly unloving comments by Christians, only to find out later that they no longer associated themselves with Christianity. Leaving aside the theological aspect of the story, Judas' comment seemed perfectly reasonable but his motive was highly hypocritical and this is where I find it necessary to ask 'why' a lot more these days. Many topics which in previous years would never be discussed, are now out in the open which is good, but checking the motives behind some who advocate these discussions, reveals a more sinister motive which can include insidious attacks on Christians or conversely, Christians not wanting to see what God really says on these topics. Maybe I am becoming too cynical but I find that nastiness can come in many forms and often from the' sweetest' of people.
Easter Saturday could be called hopeless as it was a full day of the darkest of emotions. Of course, we know the full Easter story but for Jesus' followers, that day must have seemed black and endless, for despite Jesus' prediction, his resurrection was not expected. Most people have black days which seem like this, but for Christians, we know that Jesus is with us, even when the end result may not be nearly as glorious as his resurrection. I think of Christian refugees and displaced Christians at this time of the year - how do they feel being caught up in a seemingly endless 'hopeless Saturday'. I pray that they will experience an 'Easter resurrection'.
In Mark 15:39 the Centurion watching Jesus at the cross remarked " Truly this man was God's Son". I wonder how long this centurion had known of Jesus or maybe this was his first encounter, but what a reaction to meeting Jesus and in such shocking circumstances. What a good news story in amongst the gruesome atmosphere of a crucifiction. And then we read of Joseph of Arimathea, a "respected member of the council, who was also himself waiting expectantly for the kingdom of God" going boldly to Pilate to ask for Jesus' body so he could provide some dignity to Jesus till a proper burial could take place. Such small but positive good news stories.
In reading of the way Jesus dealt with all types of people, he was not politically correct but came straight to the point in order to deal with each person's needs, but at no time was he offensive to that needy person. His love was so real for each person and we see that love once and for all with his death on the cross. Each of us is called to love like Jesus and may this be our Easter prayer - to love like Jesus.
"He is not here but is risen" - a blessed Easter to all.