Tuesday, 26 April 2011
After I'd filled my window with flowers, I sat in the silence of the empty church and read the familiar words of the Easter story to myself.
I opened the battered old bible to the gospel of John and re-read the words that are at once familiar and incomprehensible.
And even though I must have heard the story countless times before, once I'd passed through the horror of Good Friday and the agony of the crucifixion and reached the opening words of the Easter story, a shiver still tingled down my spine.
"Early on the first day of the week, while it was still dark..." I read, feeling my heart thrill with an inexplicable excitement just as it did when I was a girl.
I looked up at the sunlight streaming through the leaded glass onto the bare wood of the altar and imagined Mary Magdalene walking towards the tomb in the expectant silence before dawn.
I imagined the cool dust of the road beneath her feet, the hollowness of her heart as it broke with grief and the blackness of the night before daybreak.
I imagined the electric energy that came with the first glimpse of the dawn and the powerful song of creation as it awoke to a world in which death was vanquished for good.
And then I imagined Mary spying her Lord in the garden just as the sun's first rays were breaking through the tree branches and bathing the empty tomb in a radiant pink light, and I saw rapture light up her face as he turned and called out her name.
I saw her run towards him through the grass that was still wet with dew and then, as the truth of his resurrection dawned, I saw the first sunbeams of the first Easter morning light up the sky and radiate their glory to the world.
And as I shut the church door behind me and walked out into the warmth of an ordinary April afternoon I marvelled at the way those few simple words, that I'd heard so often before, could encapsulate the miracle of Easter and leave me tingling with wonder at the reality of the risen Lord.