Only a couple of days ago we commemorated an execution – an assassination, effectively, born out of a conspiracy and tied up with thoughts of politics and revolutions. Good Friday is a blood-stained day, and yes, it was a heroic sacrifice, but its centrepoint was still a crucixion and while we’re now more accustomed to seeing a cross as a piece of jewellery, in reality it’s a very brutal way to die.
And yet that was two days ago; now it’s Sunday, and this is where the story twists its final turn, where it stops being reductionist about death and starts talking about life again.
Not just life either – a different life, a transformation, a new start. That’s an idea that holds a tremendous weight; we’ve all been there, setting out towards a new horizon, excited and curious and yes, maybe nervous because the map says “There be dragons”, but you go out in courage and hope anyway, because the map only says that because no-one’s journeyed out there before to know the truth. You’re the first. You’re the pioneer. One small step.
That’s one way of looking at it; the other is that transformation is impossible or undesirable, because we’re too scared, or too comfortable, or too incapable, or maybe even too damned. There’s no new start ahead, just more of the same. Even when it gets boring or frustrating or horrific. Don’t vote, they’re all the same; don’t change jobs, there’s nothing else out there; don’t leave him, he might change but you never will.
Don’t give into those thoughts. Because sometimes a new start isn’t just a nice change, it can save your life. Really, it can save your life.
Easter is about new beginnings. The action in the story of Good Friday takes place in the afternoon, the day drawing to a close; Easter Sunday, well, that’s all about the morning, daybreak, the sun rising and all things unexpectedly become new.
And maybe it’s a second chance in another way. After all, by this time of the year all those new year resolutions have probably fallen by the wayside. Maybe we should think about Easter Resolutions as well – practical, spiritual, whatever. Because the story of the empty tomb is a story of new starts and second chances, of hope renewed and second chances, and of a fresh beginning, growing in a garden at springtime.