“Why do you look for the living amongst the dead? He is not here, he has risen!” – Luke 24:6
Easter weekend is one of those strange moments in the year, it’s a time to remember, to feel pain and sadness and also to celebrate and enjoy new life. As I’ve reflected on the gospel accounts of Jesus’ death and resurrection this week, I’ve been impacted again by the power and joy we can find in God in our everyday lives.
This Wednesday marks four years since my mum left us and went to be with Jesus, in a quiet moment today I popped into Worcester Cathedral to find that they have installed a garden. As I spent a moment with Jesus looking at the garden and thinking about my week, I felt him speak to me about his transforming power.
A garden is the perfect place to see it at work at this time of year. Things that looked dead a few weeks ago are beginning to produce leaves and flowers, and soon, that cold dark soil will be overtaken by a riot of colours, shapes, textures and sounds. Life bursts out and transforms anything and everything in its path.
The best part of the Easter story also takes place in a garden. It is to a tomb in a garden that a few ladies walk on a Sunday morning over 2000 years ago, prepared to grieve for the loss of their friend and teacher, they had seen him die and any hope they might have had of seeing him change the world they lived in, is gone. They are expecting to find a dead body, but as they enter the garden they find that the stone blocking the tomb entrance had been moved and that the tomb is empty. An angel then appears and asks, “Why do you look for the living amongst the dead? He is not here, he has risen!” Grief and fear are instantly replaced by hope and joy. Jesus isn’t dead, he’s alive!
The power of God’s life is a transformative force. The story of Jesus’ resurrection tells the same story of life overwhelming death, of hope extinguishing grief and of love triumphing over fear. In the same way that the spring will transform a garden, God’s life transforms everything. The gospels are bursting with stories of how Jesus, full of God’s life, changed the lives of people around him, and then went on to say that anybody filled with his spirit would do the same.
The challenge and the joy of living a life filled with God’s spirit is that we carry his transformative power with us in the everyday. It means that we can have a hope which surpasses all of our circumstances, grief and pain are real but will not overwhelm us, fear and doubt may rise but love and peace rise faster and further. Even death is nothing in comparison with eternal life with Jesus! As a follower of God this Easter, I see my challenge to be an authentic carrier of God’s life and transformation into the circumstances around me. I want to bring hope, love, peace and joy with me when I enter a conversation and I want to leave people changed.
For anyone reading this who hasn’t yet encountered the transforming power of God’s life, I encourage you to look for it. If your heart is searching to see your life changed then you can simply ask him, and I trust that you will experience his love, peace, hope and joy this Easter.