As we await the rising of the sun this Easter morn, we do so in a different setting from years gone by. We are practicing self isolation and be it not for modern technology we would be truly celebrating Easter alone. Thanks be given for all the platforms that now allow us to not only speak but see each other in real time.

In the March 2020 issue of Broadview an article by John Dominic Crossan embedded itself in my mind. In the article Crossan spoke about the difference in how Eastern Churches and the Western Churches celebrate Easter. He said and I quote “The eastern churches have a universal vision of Jesus arising with all humanity, symbolized by Adam and Eve. Western Christianity has a more individualistic vision of Jesus, arising glorious and triumphant but also solitary and alone.

The same story but depicted so very differently. We learn of Jesus resurrection when Mary and the other women went to the tomb with spices to anoint Jesus body and as Mark 16:5 reads; “as they entered the tomb, they saw a young man dressed in a white robe sitting on the right side, and they were alarmed”. Jesus was already on his way to Galilee. We are left with the image of Jesus coming out of the tomb alone. I know the angels were with him but still this depiction saddens me. I reflect back on all the healing Jesus performed and his teaching to the disciples and all who would listen. But Jesus knew his work was not yet finished and he must move on.

In the Eastern Church Jesus did not emerge from the tomb alone. As there is no text depicting Jesus emerging from the tomb, Eastern Church art shows Jesus emerging from the tomb holding the hands of Adam and Eve, leading them out of Hedes. Please allow yourselves to imagine such a scene.

I have been conflicted by which depiction of the resurrection I wish to embrace. Which image of this exceptional event do you relate to? I think the conflict for me was settled when I realized that at different times in my life I need both depictions of Jesus emerging from the tomb. During Covid 19 we need the strength provided by Jesus coming out of the tomb and saying you could not contain me and yet we require that reassurance that we are not alone, we live in God’s world and he is with us in this time of isolation.

I love the thought of Jesus emerging from the tomb with our ancestors’ giving me the reassurance that we are truly not alone. Other times I embrace the solitary picture of Jesus reflecting on all that has happened in his life, particularly the last three years. Just as Jesus knew he had more to do, so too do we as minister to others during Covid 19.

Jesus message did not end with the resurrection but instead it has provided strength and healing for all who want it. On this Easter morn may we recall the words of John 14:27 Peace I leave with you, My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.