Easter 2024

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Jesus said to her:
Then she turned to him
and said to him in Hebrew:

John 20:16

Dear companions in the Lord,

When Mary of Magdala comes to the tomb early in the morning and finds it empty, her grief and loss become almost unbearable. Not only the Lord, but also the place of mourning has been taken away from her – nothing remains but despair, pain, irrevocability and disorientation. Mary’s tears summarise the misery and hopelessness of the whole world – a hopelessness like that suffered by millions of people in the various places of our tormented world.

Mary does not run away, she exposes herself to emptiness and loss. She stays, perseveres, searches, asks, feels her way forward. She allows herself to be approached by the angels, allows herself to be approached by the supposed gardener, allows herself to be drawn into their attention and questions, but she cannot yet recognise that Jesus is alive, that He is present. The realisation that Jesus is risen is prepared in many small movements and changes – she must first slowly become able to perceive, to see, to hear, to turn away from the empty tomb, from death to life.

Only when she is struck to the heart by His address, by the sound of His voice, which unmistakably calls her by name, does she recognise the living Jesus and experience the certainty of resurrection, of overcoming death. It is an all-changing moment that takes hold of her so deeply and completely that she is even able to let go of the Beloved again because she knows that He will never leave her life, her soul.

It is her longing, perhaps a dark premonition and the hint of a vague hope that makes Mary persevere and open her heart step by step until she becomes capable of realisation.
This is exactly what we can learn from Mary: not to run away, but to expose ourselves to reality and not to stop looking for our Lord, the living Jesus. Let us open our hearts so that we too can hear the unmistakable call that changes everything.

It becomes Easter in our lives when we experience being addressed in our innermost being by the Risen One – addressed with our name, with everything that makes up our identity. It is being addressed that goes straight to the heart and enables us to recognise Jesus’ presence and allow it to transform us.

Easter does not live from our knowledge of faith, but from the encounter. These moments of encounter with the Risen Lord cannot be held, and yet they change our lives permanently. And there is always a tension between certainty and incomprehensibility.

Just as Mary is sent to the disciples, we, personally and as congregation, are also sent to bear witness to our Easter experience through our lives, our being and our actions. To bear witness to the victory of life in a world in which the increasingly dramatic context can often challenge our faith and hope to the core, both on a small and large scale.

“Jesus lives, and I with Him!”, goes a well-known Easter song. Life with and from the Risen One has a new, unrivalled quality. Let us join in the Easter Alleluia with a grateful heart!

United in love and prayer

Veronica Fuhrmann CJ

Esther Finis