It has been nearly three weeks since the first of these ‘Good News’ posts was… posted.
The project began because I wanted to encourage you: there’s so much bad news - overwhelming bad news - it feels like a siege, and I wanted to give a regular reminder of all the ways that God loves us. I wanted to be a blessing.
I didn’t expect to be blessed by taking this on as a task: all of the Good News I am sharing was stuff I already knew. But I have been blessed. I am struck by God’s love. It is wild that God cares about our finances, and our families; things as small and mundane as swing sets and green grass, and things as eternal as our souls… and God cares for all of this at the same time.
Not all of us have been given large cheques or meeting our first born sons.
Even for those of us struggling against fierce odds, facing disaster, and pain and loss:
God is good, all the time.
All the time, God is good.
Because God gives good gifts, the sun is shining on us all; the rain (or snow, in the Crowsnest Pass) is falling on all of us; and spring is coming.
Easter, in the northern hemisphere, aligns beautifully with spring. New life and abundant hope are all around us. Little green buds are forming on trees that have seemed dead for a long time and just yesterday I heard birdsong while standing in my yard. There is snowmelt and mud everywhere and with that comes the promise of warmer days. Today, we celebrate Christ rising from the dead and fulfilling his promise to us.
But I wrote these posts because I know Bad News, too. I am writing them for people who are fearful - fearful because they have been infected with Covid-19, or will be at high risk if they get it. Fearful because they might lose their job, or because they already have, and don’t know how they will pay their bills.
I know there are many people on this Easter Sunday who do not feel the hope of the Good News. I know there are many who are struggling to “lift their joys and triumphs high” as The Best Easter Hymn says. There are those who are very much living in Holy Saturday (or Black Saturday) - the uncertain time between Good Friday and Resurrection Sunday. Even for those who know that “He is Risen,” it is hard to see the Good News today.
For those people, I want to share a short Bible Story… Read it out loud to someone you love.
Then the disciples returned to their homes. But Mary stood outside the tomb weeping. And as she wept, she bent down to look into the tomb, and she saw two angels in white sitting where the body of Jesus had lain, one at the head and the other at the feet.
“Woman, why are you weeping?” they asked.
“Because they have taken my Lord away,” she said, “and I do not know where they have put Him.”
When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there; but she did not recognize that it was Jesus.
“Woman, why are you weeping?” Jesus asked. “Whom are you seeking?”
Thinking He was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried Him off, tell me where you have put Him, and I will get Him.”
Jesus said to her, “Mary.”
She turned and said to Him in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher).
“Do not cling to Me,” Jesus said, “for I have not yet ascended to the Father. But go and tell My brothers, ‘I am ascending to My Father and your Father, to My God and your God.’”
Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord!” And she told them what He had said to her.
This is not the first time Mary has stood in this place. She’s been here, in the graveyard, for a number of days. She’s come before, and she has seen nothing. But when she looks again, she sees Angels; then she turns, and is face to face with Jesus.
But she doesn’t know that Jesus is Jesus. She thinks that she is talking to the gardener…
We look for God to show up in a particular way. We have some strong idea of how we will see him, and where. We do not see what we want, or what we expected, and despair, but it may be that we don’t need an additional miracle. It may be that all we need are open eyes to see what God is doing already.
Even on Easter Sunday, some of you are still looking into a tomb, coming back to a dead place again and again, looking for some sign of life, something green and hopeful; yet for you, there is only stillness, only uncertainty. Perhaps you have heard that “He is Risen!”, and yet… you haven’t seen with your own eyes; haven’t heard your own name in His voice…
There is Good News for you, too. Good News of resurrection, of unexpected surprises, from a God who appears in ways we do not expect, and gives the gift of recognition: a gift of new sight, for those who do not yet know that their prayers have already been answered.