Monthly Reflection – Easter 2015
The Eclipse doesn’t last for ever!
John 20 1-18 (NIV)
The Empty Tomb
Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance. So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!”
So Peter and the other disciple started for the tomb. Both were running, but the other disciple outran Peter and reached the tomb first. He bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in. Then Simon Peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb. He saw the strips of linen lying there, as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus’ head. The cloth was still lying in its place, separate from the linen. Finally the other disciple, who had reached the tomb, first also went inside. He saw and believed. (They still did not understand from Scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead.) Then the disciples went back to where they were staying.
Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalene
Now Mary stood outside the tomb crying. As she wept, she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white, seated where Jesus’ body had been, one at the head and the other at the foot. 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.” At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus. He asked her, “Woman, 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.” Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (This means “Teacher”). Jesus 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 ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” 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.
We have seen this month the excitement and wonder at the solar eclipse that happened on the 20th March. I for one missed it totally as I was on a course at HQ and was sat in a class room in the Gym doing an exam! A solar eclipse is when the moon moves directly between the sun and the earth. It’s unusual because the earth, sun and the moon all have to align. It is also rare because the shadow the moon casts on the earth is small and only affects certain places on earth. We haven’t had a full solar eclipse since 1999 and the one happening this March is only a partial eclipse. I witnessed the eclipse in 1999- I was on a beach in Devon with a large group of friends- it was an unusual experience in that it became very cold and dark very quickly- but was also over in moments! If you missed the one this year like me, it will be 2026 before you can catch the next partial eclipse. During this year’s partial eclipse around 94% of the Sun’s light was blocked by the moon in Scotland, in places further south like London, the sun was around 85% obscured by the moon. The good thing about the eclipse is that it is only temporary and the darkness and coldness that comes with it fades just as quickly as it arrived and before you know it the sun is shining again in all its glory!
When we consider the biblical account of Mary going to the tomb and finding it empty we can see a parallel between the moon passing in front of the sun and the stone being placed in front of Jesus tomb. Both caused the light to be blocked out- both cast a long shadow of darkness over the earth with feelings of coldness- but both the moon and the tomb moved away to reveal the light in all of its glory!
The wonderful message of Easter to each and every one of us is that even though we have ‘All sinned and fallen short of the glory of God’ (Romans 3:23) that there is a way back to the father!
Just as the eclipse doesn’t last for ever the power of sin and death isn’t the final answer! Jesus Christ came, lived the perfect life and took the sins of us all when he died on the Cross- this death however was temporary! The stone was rolled away and Jesus rose again to sit at his father’s side in Heaven! We see in John 20 above that wonderful moment when Mary realises that she is in fact talking to Jesus and not a Gardener- it reminds me of the moment I knew I believed in him- it was like someone had switched on a light!
This Easter time- whether you are at home with family, at work or away try and remember that the message of the Cross is one that we must share with others- it simply is a matter of life and death! But also remember that for all of us our sin and our own failures can cast a long and dark shadow if we let it! We can make that effect as temporary as the moon covering the sun if we give them to our father at the foot of the cross!
So from the family Evans we wish you all a blessed and peaceful Easter where ever you are celebrating it and as my oldest daughter said to me the other day ‘I hope we all get lots of Easter Eggs’. But more importantly if you are seeking after a relationship with God and you don’t quite know what to do I encourage you to find out more as this could be the best Easter you ever have!
Dear Lord, we thank you once again for the beautiful sacrifice you made for us on the Cross. Help us to share the message that there is a way out of any situation if we turn to you. Give us all a deeper knowledge of you and blessed Easter time.