“Jesus's resurrection is the beginning of God's new project not to snatch people away from earth to heaven but to colonise earth with the life of heaven. That, after all, is what the Lord's Prayer is about.”
― N.T. Wright, former Bishop of Durham and Professor of New Testament Theology (Surprised by Hope: Rethinking Heaven, the Resurrection, and the Mission of the Church)
Have you ever thought this way when you pray, “Your kingdom come”? So often through Jesus teaching we hear him describing the essence of his coming kingdom, in earthly terms. The kingdom of heaven is like - a man sowing, buried treasure, a mustard seed and so we could go on listing tangible descriptions mentioned by Jesus. In many ways we need to listen to God’s messengers who asked on that first Easter Morning, ‘Then, as they were afraid and bowed their faces to the earth, they said to them, “Why do you seek the living among the dead?He is not here, but is risen! Remember how He spoke to you when He was still in Galilee, saying, ‘The Son of Man must be delivered into the hands of sinful men, and be crucified, and the third day rise again.’ ” Luke 24:5-7
We can picture the women moving through the garden with heavy hearts, unresponsive to that dawning spring morning. They are oblivious, above all, to the glorious presence of the risen Christ. We might well pray, Lord, help me to realise that when I am weighed down with sorrow, anxiety or hopelessness, you are no further from me than you were to the women in that dawn garden.
Women are the first witnesses to the resurrection. They reveal the qualities of good disciples in their capacity to believe. Perhaps we should pray not to treat the resurrection as an idle tale, but as the message that transforms our world and gives hope to everyone.
Why do we look for the living among the dead?
May we be able to say, You are not in any tomb, Lord. The tomb is empty. You are not a dead hero to be studied in retrospect. You are alive, and meeting us, at our side, in our hearts, feeding us through your life giving presence. The report brought by the good women, dismissed by the apostles as an idle tale, is the creed by which we must live. Amen