Thursday 17 April 2014
Easter: it’s cosmic, it’s visceral – and it’s personal.
Take Maundy Thursday. It’s cosmic: it’s Jesus taking bread and wine and saying they will be for us his body and blood; here he inscribes himself into Israel’s story of exodus and becomes that Passover Lamb. It’s visceral – Peter claims, ‘You shall never wash my feet!’ Somehow the intimacy of footwashing is just too much, too close, too dirty. And it’s personal: Judas dips bread, slips away from supper, kisses a cheek.
Take Good Friday. It’s cosmic: Jesus takes the sin of the world on his shoulders. It’s visceral: the nails, the thorns, the spear. And it’s personal: Jesus entrusts his mother to the beloved disciple, Joseph lays Jesus in the tomb, echoing another Joseph who laid him in the manger.
And then take Easter itself. It’s cosmic: sin and death meet their match. It’s visceral: Mary screams ‘they have taken my Lord away and I do not know where they have laid him!’ And it’s personal: Jesus says, ‘Do not cling to me.’
St Martin-in-the-Fields tries to mark Easter the way it seeks to embody the gospel year-round. By being cosmic: we believe in Jesus Christ, who, as the creed puts it, ‘was crucified, dead, and buried, and on the third day rose again.’ By being visceral: interlacing the passion and resurrection stories with the world’s experience of betrayal, brutality, agony, despair, joy, and glory. And by being personal: seeking to live lives of fellowship, sacrifice, holiness, and reconciliation.
My prayer is that, in the midst of these focal days, you will find the cosmic, visceral, and personal core of your existence; you will rediscover the nature, meaning, purpose and destiny of all things; and you will encounter the God who did all this, endured all this, transformed all this for one cause only: for you.
Revd Dr Sam Wells
Vicar, St Martin-in-the-Fields