Welcome to Easter

… is it all about bunnies and chocolate eggs or is it about the redemptive sacrifice of Christ?

This Easter I thought I’d give you something to consider that might give a different flavour to Holy Week. In the Gospel of John, the journey of Jesus and his beloved friends together displays an increasing flavour of intimacy from when he first meets them and they begin travelling and learning together. You get the sense, I think, that one by one, as the relationships between them get more intimate, they begin to know, to recognise who it is that has come amongst them. Jesus himself admits his own identity, he tells us he is the Son of his Divine Father.

But in the week they enter Jerusalem, this week, he does a series of remarkable things – he suggests to his disciples that they could enter into the very same intimate, familial relationship with the Divine that he has. In fact, at their final meal together on Thursday before his arrest that evening, he welcomes each of them into his Father’s household by washing their feet – acting not as the master of the house, but as a servant. At the foot of the cross, on Good Friday he gives his most Beloved Disciple (who is the exemplar for the community of what discipleship truly is) to Mary as her son and Mary to him as his mother.

Finally, having promised the coming of a spirit of great comfort who will dwell among them (and within them), just as the Shekhinah – the Presence of the Divine – dwelt in the Temple, he bows his head and gives over his spirit. This great work draws his beloved friends into this divine loving relationship. Some traditions have the Gospel of John ending right there, with no mystery of the resurrection, no post-resurrection teaching and no ascension story. I think when you see the scope of what Jesus accomplishes at the moment of his death, you could easily see why the rest of the Gospel could be just a kind of tidying up.

From this perspective (and this is not, I stress, a mainstream perspective) the great Mystery of Easter, is not about death and resurrection (as beautiful as those themes are) and not about a sacrifice of the Lamb of God to take away the sin of the world. The Mystery of Easter is the formation of a great, rambling, loving household of brothers and sisters who dwell in God as God dwells in them. That household continues to this day, you are a part of it and Easter is a sacred call to recognise – just as the disciples recognised – who it is that has come amongst you.

Please accept my humble blessings on this most holy season. Holy week has a very strong, sacred energy wound into it, so no matter what you’re doing, please make some time each day for quiet and let your soul unwind into the transformative potential of Easter.

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