It began in God (Easter 2020)

This can be listened to here

It began in God
Who is love
It began when the Eternal Word
Came among us
As one of us
To remind us that we are made
In the image of love

To be honest who knows when it began
That part of the story is very hazy
And no-one thought it important enough to
even report on it.

It began with a carpenter’s son
Walking and teaching in the footsteps
of John the Baptizer
Preaching and healing in Galilee
One man
But soon people noticed
crowds gathered
disciples were called
It gathered pace
Became a movement of sorts

It began with a report
A new flu in Wuhan
One death
And then there were more.
We heard of a man
A doctor chastened for raising a flag
We heard of his death
and the news took notice
we took notice of events
in faraway China
as the number of deaths rose
and the lock-down began

Those were heady days.
He embodied God’s love
for all who crossed his path
even Samaritans.
He lived the kingdom of God
here on earth
in the here and now.
People touched by compassion,
God’s generosity there for all.
God’s promises lived out.
God’s covenant to Israel fulfilled.
We touched
earth renewed
and hoped.

Those were strange days
Life carried on
Plans were made
Overseas travel was booked
Events were organised
At first with only the smallest of doubts
But each night brought
more news of death
And then
The red dots appeared outside
First ones and twos
Flown there
Taking hold
And still life carried on.

The shadow was upon us before
we knew what was happening
One day in the sunlight of being palmed
Down into the Kidron.
Maybe now the great exile would end.
Maybe now the glory of God
lost to Babylon
would be returned.
Maybe now the peace of God would be restored.
Into the chill of Jerusalem
We rode.
No cheering here.
Just cold indifference.
Our small group
passed through the gate
under Rome’s careful eye.
Surrounded with bemusement
we trekked up into
deadly fear and loathing
as the temple
loomed on our path.
That shadow never left.
The threat grew darker.
The sun dimmed
until on Friday
he was stripped of his humanity.
The powers nailed him to that cross.
The gods of war and wealth,
the idols of power and fame,
the spirits that destroyed communities,
devastating lives
using God as their justification
crucified the one who named
their shame and selfishness.
They wrapped him tight in their hate
crushing him
and all our hopes.
As the darkness drowned us
they danced their eternal victory
those false gods.
We watched and prayed in silence
while Jesus breathed his last.
God defeated!
We were caught in the unknowing
Of what will come
and how to be.
It seemed the end.

The shadow was upon before
we knew what was happening.
As cases and deaths exploded
In Europe
First Italy
Then Spain and beyond
It was only a matter of time
Flights were cancelled
Borders closed
Plans in doubt
Then on hold
Only to be cancelled.
Fear grew as the dots came closer
Journalists and others called for more
While others called for less
Self-isolation required on arrival
Although not all took that so seriously
Large gatherings were stopped
Social distancing become a thing
And in a week
We had gone from what might be
To full lockdown
Church apart
Watching from our homes
As the world seemed to come to a stop
And the economic meltdown began
We are watching and praying
Caught in the unknowing
Of what will come and how to be.
It seems the end

We huddled
Filled with grief
Filled with guilt
Overwhelmed by darkness,
and death
We waited
Where is God in all this?
Why has God forsaken us?
Wanting to bury the crucified one
We disciples,
Men and women
Are waiting
The night never seems to end

We are numb
Huddled in our fear
Stuck in our homes
Sometimes filled with grief
Sometimes with guilt
Overwhelmed by darkness, 
and death
We too feel powerless
Where is God in all of this?
Why has God forsaken us?
We wait
Are waiting
The night never seems to end.

Some women
Walk in the dark
To say goodbye
To bury their dead
One final hopeless act….
In the gloom
The stone has gone
He has gone!!!
Who has done this?
Even this last act of despair
Of love
Even this denied!
Who to turn to?
Who to help?

Who to turn to?
In the darkness
When the dawn never seems to come
Who are our “they’s?”
Who is to blame?
What are our stones in the gloom?
That deny our acts of love?
And who will help us?

They come
Peter the leader
and the beloved
each see the neat tomb
one believes
and neither understand
They see
They hope the impossible
And leave
Still helpless
Still unsure
Still uncertain
Where is God in all this?
And who will help?
But Mary waits
Silently weeping
At all that is lost
Dawn breaks quietly
No blinding light
No fanfare
Just a gardener
why do you weep?
Who are you looking for?”
if you have taken him away
tell me
tell me where you have laid him
and I will care for him?”
Such gentle love
Such despair
Blinds her
to Jesus
who simply says her name
Quietly in the dawn
a single word
changes her world
And in that moment
She is drawn into God’s love
The love of our Father and Mother
Source of all Being
In whom is heaven
She is anchored by love
As she is held
She knows that
the covenant is renewed
The promise upheld
Creation is rekindled
Humanity restored
Her darkness is shredded
the dawn warms her from the inside out
Filled with joy
She trusts and believes
Overwhelmed by light, love and life
She goes
To tell the men
To tell the world
She has seen the Lord
At peace
Sure and certain
God has said her name.
God has not forsaken her.
God has not forsaken us!
The crucified one does not need to be buried
The waiting is over
The night has ended
But here we are still in lockdown
The night has not ended
The waiting is not over for us
The uncertainty holds
As we struggle in our bubbles
Who do we look for?
What do we look for?
What do we hope for?
And yet this day
Christ has said our name
Christ is risen in our world
The promise holds
We are not forsaken
Our darkness is shredded
And in its place
Is joy
Quietly in the dawn
a single word
has changed our world
We are freed
What does that mean for us this year?
What changes for us in this moment?

Let us give thanks
To the God
Met in the resurrected Jesus
Who says our name
And invites us to live
not in dark and sin and death
But overwhelmed in God’s light, love and life
For everything begins today.
We have seen the Lord
Hope is reborn
Compassion renewed
Justice announced
Love reigns.
With this empty tomb
the revolution begins.
God is not defeated
Even in lock-down.


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