Church of England Diocese of Manchester Bury (St. Mary)

Rector's Thoughts

4 Apr 2021, midnight
From_the_Vicar Easter

Who shall roll us away the stone?<span style="font-size: 1rem;"> asks the women. Rolling stones is men’s work, physical work. It’s the sort of thing that we pay others to do. That can be true in the life of faith. We want others to do the heavy lifting, to get their hands dirty, to put invest their energy. Our wariness about getting too stuck in is that we might get too stuck in, too involved, that too much of our life might disappear down the life of faith, that we might end up like these over-involved women.</span>

Before we bail out, it might be worth asking about this stone, about what’s behind it, about why we might not want to get too involved. The Greek word for tomb is “mnemeion”, meaning memory and for door is “thura”. The women are asking who is going to help shift the door of memories. Behind the stone lies Jesus and seeing him will only reignite the memories they had. For them, those memories will have been all too shocking, dark and traumatic with images of Jesus on the cross seared into their heads. Moving those memories was going to take more than putting flowers on the grave. It was going to take talking, crying, hugging and endless support and gentle, tender conversation. It was going to involve a shift in how they experienced the world.

We too juggle the memories we have about the past, about people whom we love but see no longer, about things said and thought and done which burden our memories and we ask “who is going to move them?” We can end up putting flowers on graves, endlessly recycling our painful memories fearful of letting go of our memories lest we forget.

Easter Day is God’s declaration that behind the door of memories is light, not darkness, life not death. Jesus is not defined by his death but by his life. The women did not find that immediately. They had to go to Galilee to discover that. God invites us to discover life in Christ today and to discover that the memories we fear are actually full of love and hope because death does not have the last word. The stone has rolled away. Christ is risen. That is the last word.