‘Surprised by Joy’ – this week’s Vicar’s thought for Easter

Surprised by Joy

Life is ‘normal’ no longer. Or is it more normal than you ever imagined?!

Jesus is alive, risen from the dead!

But before we go there, take a step in your imagination to that first Easter Sunday morning – the first day of a new week. Those first disciples, men and women, followers of Jesus, had seen the most horrendous events take place just that Thursday and Friday – happening to the one they had loved and followed, in whom they’d placed so much hope. And what’s more someone who knew and loved them more than anyone they’d ever known. And all this compounded by how they’d let him down over those days, even betrayed him.

I struggle to imagine where they were in their grief that Sunday morning! But Jesus is his own man, he holds none of this against them. Piece by piece, event by event, he appears and shows them his nail-pierced hands and his feet, he explains. He calls the first to see him by name, “Mary”; he comes among them in a locked room and says, “Peace be with you”; he asks one of them, “Do you love me?”, knowing that this disciple does indeed love Jesus with all his heart despite how he’d let him down. Here is a man, the man, who knows all we can throw at him, and loves us still! He opens new doors to a life that, even with many hardships to come, is full of joy, of hope, of love beyond all loves. Such is the joy every new Christian is surprised by and, for someone like me who’s been a Christian nearly 50 years, takes my breath away fairly frequently as I am once more surprised by his joy over me, those around me, and indeed his world.