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I love it doesn’t it make you just feel upbeat and summery aren’t some of you are ready for some beach time I I love that I think aaron threw in a couple of english speeches there and let me just say this they are not as warm as they may have looked um if if you like tropical climate uh well that’s your choice but I suggest cold bracing winds and just you know that just general feel of just my family go swimming when it’s 50 degrees in the water or outside and my wife sits on the side and stares at us like we’ve lost our minds which we may have done we are in a new series we’re about to begin we call it riptide why did we call it that there is something that has happened something that has taken place Jesus has died and risen again it has changed everything in the world and yet nobody knows about it nobody has yet in this point we’re about to enter the story no one has experienced the change there has been this thing that has changed everything about the way the world functions the grand biblical narrative is this Jesus is the change that the world needs God has risked everything on his son and the transformation that that brings that change has happened and yet all of his earliest followers are still stuck in this place where they’re asking what does this mean most of them at this point don’t even know and we get to enter into these first stories and ask what is happening here for them I think in churches we we do a couple of things sometimes we talk a lot about God’s change for us individually we talk about transformation within us and we forget that actually this story is transforming everything in the world and we have to enter into that intentionally that’s what the first mile initiative is all about and then sometimes as churches I think we get so obsessed with what it is to change the world around us that we forget on the other hand that actually this message is supposed to reach us at our inner most core and I don’t know about you but there are times when that’s harder for me to believe sometimes it’s easy for me to believe that God can change this whole world he can change these grand narratives but sometimes when I get to look in the deep recesses of what’s in there when I get to look at the brokenness in there there’s times where I’m like man I can believe the first one but God do you have something for that do you have an antidote to that can you play with can you transform that this message is is not just about the world changingness of Jesus death and resurrection but it’s also the individual message for each of us and what we get to watch over this next season that leads up to pentecost and if you’ve never been baptized we do baptisms on pentecost it’s a great opportunity to declare your following of Jesus to the world but what you’ll watch over these next few weeks as we look at the post-resurrection experiences of Jesus first followers will get to look at the way they are in all sorts of different places some of them obsessed with their failures wondering if that’s the story that’s going to characterize them forever some of them struggling with doubt can I believe again some of them just giving up on the story and leaving town and we’re going to watch as this incredible and gentle Jesus goes around and he pulls them back into this grand story to give you an image of it this riptide tied image is what it is to stand on the edge of an ocean maybe some of you have had that experience maybe up to your ankles and you can feel the water start to pull you towards this incredible body of water you can feel the pull of that tide and this grand story that Jesus has created longs to pull each and every single one of us into it wherever we are and whatever is going on in our hearts so we’re going to jump in to john chapter 20 for the first week if you have a text you can open it with me we’re going to start on verse 1. by the way if you’re visiting my name’s alex I’m one of the pastors here man I forgot that on easter forgot it today I’m just I’m this talking head hello earlier the first day of the week while it was still dark mary magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance this is a good story she came running to simon peter and the other disciples the one Jesus loved and said they have taken the lord out of the tomb and we do not know where they have put him so peter and the other disciples started for the tomb both were running but the other disciple outran peter and reached the tomb first he bent over and looked in at the strips of linen lying there but did not go in then simon peter came along behind him and went straight into the tomb he saw the strips of linen lying there as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus head the cloth was still lying in its place separate from the linen finally the other disciple who had reached the term for tomb first also went inside he saw and he believed they still did not understand from scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead when the disciples went back to where they were then the disciples went back to where they were staying now mary stood outside the tomb crying as she wept she bent over to look into the tomb and saw two angels in white seated where Jesus body had been one at the head and the other at the foot they asked a woman why are you crying they have taken my lord away she said and I do not know where they have put him at this she turned around and saw Jesus standing there but did not realize that it was Jesus he asked a woman why are you crying who is it that you are looking for thinking he was a gardener she said sir if you have carried him away tell me where you have put him and I will get him Jesus said to her mary she turned towards him and cried out in aramaic rabboni which means teacher Jesus said do not hold on to me for I have not yet ascended to the father go instead to my brothers and tell them I am ascending to your father and to my father and your father to my God and your God mary magdalene went to the disciples with the news I have seen the lord and she told them that he had said these things to her Jesus whatever we need from this story wherever we find ourselves we are in the light of your post-resurrection world your story has changed everything it’s changed everything for the world but it’s changed everything for us as people too would you pull us in new ways into that story would you catch hold of us pull us in and that grand tide and transform us we need that deeply amen okay so john 20 chapter john chapter 20 verse 1. early on the first day of the week while it was still dark mary magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance it is resurrection but it is still dark it’s resurrection but it’s still dark this rider john it seems has what you might almost call an obsession with light and dark in first century writing if someone mentions something right at the beginning if they ground everything around that then the message is almost watch out for this in other places if we go back to john chapter one verse one in the beginning was the word the word was with God the word was God the word for those of you clueing into this for the first time is Jesus he was with God in the beginning through him all things were made without him nothing was made that has been made in him was life and what did that life mean what did it look like that life was the light of all mankind the light shines in the darkness and the darkness has not overcome it right at the beginning when john wants to frame the great story that he’s presenting he frames it around two things light and darkness there is a spiritual thing in john’s mind that is unseen there is the darkness which is negative which is bad and there is light that is destroying that darkness that is bringing about a new story if you like to read the bible if you’re someone that does that regularly here’s a fun challenge for you take the book of john and go through and just circle every time it mentions light and darkness or dark you’ll see just some fascinating ways that this writer continually takes those two ideas and plays them off one against another john it seems has a fascination with light and darkness he talks about that both in the grand scheme of things but also about personal things as well it taps into personal stories so a question for you as we tap into this what does the word darkness mean to you it probably has multiple different connotations right I I had a new definition of darkness recently because my four-year-old has become obsessed well all kids just to give you a heads up if you don’t have kids yet all kids for some reason are obsessed with following parents into the bathroom uh if you thought that this was like the the place of freedom uh that is no longer the case once you have kids and I know some of you again in the not yet kids stages saying it’s just simple just lock the door oh that it were so simple uh these kids have a way of getting around all of these sorts of things and so so regularly you find yourself in a space that you consider the last bastion of freedom like the one thing you could rely on your thinking space whatever you characterize as and suddenly a small child will appear in that space wanting something from you but but my youngest child jude has now taken that a step further what he has joy in now is opening the door turning off the light and then shutting the door and yelling it’s really dark in here now wha whatever you are doing in the bathroom whatever that looks like in that moment that becomes harder when there is no light and I just have had these moments regularly where I’ve sat there and just it’s awfully dark in this space it just feels like my new definition of darkness but on a more serious level darkness is both physical this is great sand dunes down in colorado springs it’s one of the 12 registered dark sky areas in the world it’s a place you can go and when there’s not star light you really feel like you can’t see your hand in front of your face when the stars are out it’s this ability to see these vistas up in the sky it is a place that is just physically dark and maybe for you physical dark is a problem I slept with the light until an embarrassingly old age and then I was delighted because some people came to me after the first service and was like oh no I can beat that and I felt like my age of like 13 still sleeping with the light I was fairly high I just didn’t like physical darkness and I still have these memories of doing an early morning paper route at six o’clock in the morning and feeling terrified to walk down certain roads because I just didn’t know what was there we have this instinctive feel about dark versus light on a physical level but we also use the term darkness on a more metaphorical level right regularly we go to these sort of descriptions I just threw in from the beautiful movie encanto there is the famous character bruno who’s captured everyone’s imagination because of the song about his name and bruno can predict the future and so one of the songs says this a seven foot frame rats along his back when he calls your name it all fades to black it all fades black bruno predicts the future and the future is usually negative and it usually comes true and it is maybe a metaphor for what it is for us to at times in our lives say how did I end up in this place that wasn’t what I expected we talk about darkness as physicality but we also talk about darkness as metaphorical we might use language like I’m in a very dark place right now this is a dark time for me we use that language and it could be any one of these things I would guess it could be physical after the easter services I was emotionally tired and then I decided to spend the whole of monday on a day off just moving soil around the english term is barrowing um and I tried using that in the office and everyone’s like that’s not a word I’m like no no it really is we got into legitimate arguments about that especially as I am from a country that invented a language I felt like I should be able to just speak authoritatively into that situation they wouldn’t have it they were like no it’s not a word stop making stuff up the next morning I woke up with deep aches and pains all over me something that is fairly new to me at the age I am and a friend said you know the time to worry is when you have those same aches when you didn’t barrow soil up and down the road all day he said it’s coming for you don’t worry it’s just a matter of time maybe you are in a place where there is something physical that is off maybe you’re walking through a journey with sickness maybe you’re starting to experience some deterioration of the body and you say physically this feels like this is a darker place relationally we get into points in our life where we say how did this relationship move from here to here it all seemed to start in the light it all seemed to start so positive and now we’re in this space you don’t need to assign blame we don’t need to know other reasons but you might say no it’s just it’s just not right what what how I don’t have good explanations or answers for this it’s emotional we just spent six weeks tapping through a series on emotions it’s financial it’s it’s that moment where that I had recently where I went to do my taxes and my wonderful accountant who was sat in the first service and I didn’t mention because I didn’t want him to feel that he ruined my easter week but I sat with him and he said you still owe nine thousand dollars on your tax bill it’s like that wow that got dark really quick that’s not what I wanted to hear and I’m looking at him like it’s his fault what have you done to me john come on couldn’t you have paid my taxes for me it’s spiritual it’s that moment of ending up in a place where like it feels like God is distant it feels like he’s not speaking it feels like there’s a glass ceiling and I find myself yelling at that ceiling asking him to interact darkness has that physicality but it also has that metaphorical nature and so when we read early on the first day of the week while it was still dark from an author we know has borderline obsession with light and dark it might mean something the reason I would suggest it does mean something is because it’s different from what every single one of the other authors about Jesus life say there are for the four biographies of Jesus life for those of you new to this kind of thing and so matthew mark and luke all say something different something that isn’t about darkness matthew in chapter 28 says after the sabbath at dawn on the first day of the week matthew is interested in the fact that it’s now light when the sabbath was over mark says mary magdalene mary the mother of james and salone brought spices so that they might go to anoint Jesus body very early on the first day of the week just after sunrise and then luke on the first day of the week very early in the morning for matthew mark luke it is light it is morning for john for john it’s dark another difference as well another distinction between the two when we read in matthew we’re told that mary magdalene and the other mary come to the tomb in mark we’re told mary magdalene mary the mother of james and salome brought spices so that they may go to anoint Jesus body and in luke the women a plural term took the spices there’s these slight differences now if you’re into like forensic examination of things that may cause you some tension as a first century person you may say wait these are inconsistencies these are things that are off like how can this story be true the truth is in the 21st century we have an obsession with details so if we were to do an investigation of something we would say did it happen at 3 15 or did it happen at 3 16 was the person wearing red pants or were they wearing maroon pants we go into details that a first century rider just wouldn’t have conceived as important these are writers that are building on oral traditions some of them yes we’re around at the time but for the most part they’re taking oral stories and pulling them together and so their primary concept is what is this story teaching us doesn’t mean it didn’t happen doesn’t mean it’s not true in actual fact what’s incredible about these resurrection stories of Jesus life is how similar they are they agree on these big details there was a stone that had been rolled away a group that contained mostly women went to the tomb for that first moment and experienced Jesus as resurrected there’s consistencies that point towards its truthfulness but if you go to it looking for tiny details and looking for anything that seems like an inconsistency well then you’re really not reading first century literature the way that it’s meant to be read john takes this story and says in my story it’s dark and in my story mary is alone in my story it’s dark and in my story mary is alone why would it be dark and why would she be alone and so let’s have a look back at just some of this story mary magdalene went to the tomb and she saw the stone that had been removed from the entrance we need some details on who this woman is and what we can tell about her story to learn what this story means or will mean for her mary’s first appearance is in luke chapter eight after this Jesus traveled about from one town and village to another proclaiming the good news of the kingdom of God the twelve of the followers of Jesus were with him and also some women who had been cured of evil spirits and diseases mary called magdalene from whom seven demons had come out joanna the wife of chooser the manager of herod’s household susanna and many others these women were helping to support them out of their own means a few things we know from this story mary is from a town called magdala which was just on the sea of galilee the famous sea that Jesus did much of his ministry around it’s interesting that it points that out because usually in the first century a woman would be identified by who she was married to mary has no such information about her we simply know that she’s from a certain town and based on the bottom part the last verse that she’s probably got some means of our own and these women are supporting Jesus earliest male followers they are bringing finances and helping the whole ministry happen and then finally seven demons had come out whatever your theology is whatever you might call demonology is whether you think that the bible when it talks about these things are talking about spiritual realities or whether it’s using old language for mental illness I don’t really want to argue that point particularly right now whatever it is at this point in her life she is in a decidedly low place to pick up on our term darkness she is possibly in the darkest place to be described as seven demons coming out of her there is language here that in first century spiritual terms says matt mary is broken mary is in a bad place mary is not in a place of health life is not in the place that she would want it to be and somewhere this story has changed this story is also fascinating because of its reference to women Jesus in many ways was a classic first century rabbi he gathered a bunch of male followers and began to teach them they got to copy him Jesus unusually though is reflected as having this group of women that have gathered around him and even broader than just women Jesus you might suggest has what writers would call a preferential option for the poor Jesus pulls in everyone from this group that first century writers would have termed poor women incredibly to us in the 21st century were included in that group but those on the fringes tax collectors people that were called sinners people that modern societal that society just didn’t find acceptable Jesus finds acceptable Jesus spends time with Jesus pulls them into his story and as we’re about to read incredibly chooses them as the first people to show himself to after resurrection the bible wrestles at different points I would suggest with its view of women the writer inc enrique nardoni says this the bible as a whole supports the bible as a whole and it’s cultural context support a preferential option for the poor but the old testament in the language of phyllis tribble is quite often full of tales of terror with women as victims Jesus seems to be intentionally going about subverting that older narrative in Jesus ministry incredibly women are included for the first century mind blowing to us just seems like what we would expect Jesus pulls people in from all sorts of background and for mary this person who would be considered on the fringe the margins of society this person who was said to be demon possessed Jesus brings light from darkness Jesus takes a woman who is at her lowest point and brings light to her story ad whatever language he used when this happened I would love to believe it looked something like this in john chapter 8 another place where this writer focuses on light versus darkness I am the light of the world whoever follows me will never walk in darkness but will have the light of life we looked at john chapter one which characterizes this big spatial battle as darkness versus light and in john chapter eight this writer says it’s not just big and spatial it’s you as well it’s on the ground level it’s individual people God brings light out of darkness through the work of his son and somewhere mary’s narrative has changed dramatically she has gone from the darkest point to a point where she now stands in the light that change is dramatic and incredible early on the first day of the week while it was still dark mary magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance a lot of writers suggest that this language of darkness here at this point reflects where mary is now in a spiritual place having moved from darkness to light Jesus is now dead and what does that mean for her story what does it mean when the person who brought light to your situation is no longer present if Jesus for Jesus presence brought light from darkness well Jesus absence instigates a movement from light to darkness when he is not there everything is different what does his story look like now what is the result can this still be light when there is no Jesus what happens if she finds herself in a place of darkness again what happens when Jesus is no longer there to be what she needs him to be mary’s story is brought into trauma because Jesus is now absent from it on a personal level maybe you’ve experienced something like this maybe you’ve been through a period of life that you would describe as dark as troubled as difficult and you’ve walked into a relationship you’ve encountered someone a friend a romantic relationship perhaps you got married and it feels like that fixed the story you feel like you encountered someone maybe you came to rely on that story too much but there is the question what happens when that story is different what happens when that person is gone in sort of the language of literature it is the language of romeo and juliet but soft what light through yonder window breaks it is the east and juliet is the sun it reflects what it is to have a moment where you’re like wow everything’s wonderful now it felt dark and now I stand in the light but if that person’s gone does the situation change does everything end in that what happens when the person you rely on isn’t there it’s true of us on a romantic level on a friendship level on a parenting level all of those different things but but it’s true of mary on a deeper level what happens when Jesus is no longer there what happens when he’s no longer present what happens when Jesus has taught you so many wonderful things his teaching is beyond anything you’ve ever heard and you have all these principles but he’s no longer alive the writer peter rollins imagines what it is for some early followers of Jesus to leave before news of resurrection got out to go and take the teachings of Jesus and live far away and take these principles and just live them out and and finally some followers of Jesus who did stay for the resurrection make it out to them and in this wonderful moment they reveal to them no he’s not dead he’s actually alive and celebration breaks out does the teaching of Jesus matter without resurrection does all of the three years mary has spent with him do they matter without resurrection if Jesus is dead what is her story now early on the first day of the week while it was still dark mary magdalene went to the tomb and saw that the stone had been removed from the entrance the fact that she is the first one there suggests that she takes a special place in in terms of or sees her relationship as being in a special place in the jewish tradition of grief people would sit for many days and grieve but the earliest for the closest people the closest family members would be enabled to go to the tomb and mourn there mary gets up first she’s the first one there it suggests something about how she sees and how she values Jesus and then she’s left in this moment of uncertainty what does this story mean the stone has been rolled away and so she came running to simon peter and the other disciple the one Jesus loved and said they have taken the lord out of the tomb and we don’t know where they have put him I love this story I almost feel like a different points this story gets a little bit comic as we read peter and john’s interaction this phrase the the other disciple the one Jesus loved is generally understood to be a reference to the person that wrote the book it is john talking about john and and firstly it’s a little bit of a flex for the guy that’s writing the book to be like oh the one that Jesus loved I was his favorite just recognized that for a moment but it gets almost it gets even worse if I was writing spiritual literature this is not how I would write it because this story is almost like just adolescent fun next verse verse three to four so peter and the other disciples started for the tomb remember the other disciple is the guy writing started for the tomb both were running but the other disciple outran peter and reached the tomb first it’s like this moment where john’s like in case you heard anything different I was faster than this guy he was super slow and I ran and I beat him and just remember that for just a second like who puts this in like the bible it’s incredible but the other disciple outran peter and reached the tomb first if nothing else I was the faster of the two and maybe he needs to write that because he bent over and looked in the strips of linen lying there but he did not go in like 13 year old alex it seems like john is scared of the dark as well he stays outside then simon peter and if you know anything about peter this makes sense came along behind him and went straight into the tomb peter doesn’t think before he speaks he doesn’t think before he acts he’s just there and off he goes straight in there’s this comic interplay between the two he saw the strips of linen line there as well as the cloth that had been wrapped around Jesus head the cloth was still lying in its place separate from the linen finally the other disciple who had reached the tomb first also went inside he saw and believed so finally I went in took me a while had to get my courage up uh he saw and believed they did they still did not understand from scripture that Jesus had to rise from the dead again it’s john writing back and saying I didn’t get this for a long time three years he talked about death and resurrection and finally I’m starting to catch up in this moment and then the disciples went back to where they were staying everything that you’ve just read fits a narrative we would expect the men are doing things and the women are in the background silent until this moment this moment where we read and then the men went home they went back to the place that they were staying this is a completely understandable narrative this is like ground zero Jesus has been public enemy number one for a while nobody wants to be in this space the jewish leaders had put guards on the tomb there was all of these different political implications to things that Jesus had said nobody wants to be here right now nobody ex it seems except mary who potentially has nowhere else to go for these men in the story there’s options they can go back to a trade they can find another rabbi but what about mary where does she go what does her story look like her story has fundamentally changed around her encounter with Jesus and his ministry in the world she has no other story to chase into no other narrative to hope for and so what we read is that now mary stood outside the tomb crying when these guys leave mary pauses and it seems according to these writers the fact that she’s the first person to experience the risen Jesus is just simply based on chance simply based on the fact that she lingers and they don’t she waits and they don’t she holds in this moment with all of her brokenness all of her darkness all of the fear of what does the story mean she’s simply in this moment where it seems like Jesus is defeated and dead she stays maybe just because she has nowhere else to go but in this moment she does stay and the story continues they asked a woman why are you crying they have taken my lord away she said and I do not know where they have put him we see no hint of resurrection in her mind there is no lurking suspicion that the rolled away stone may be a good part of the narrative all we see is the hopelessness of they’ve even taken the body away I don’t even have that to cling to anymore if anything the story has become even darker even more hopeless in these moments this she turned around and saw Jesus standing there but she did not realize that it was Jesus there’s a whole bunch of stuff we could talk about there about why Jesus in his post-resurrection form doesn’t always look like Jesus it’s a mystery we just have to sit in for the most part and even when he speaks to her she doesn’t know that it’s him he asked a woman why are you crying who is it that you are looking for she verse 6 15 thinking he was the gardener she said sir if you have carried him away last easter we talked about this fascinating interplay here between graves and gardens the first human adam takes a garden that he lives in and through his act of disobedience turns that garden essentially into a grave into a cemetery and Jesus in this incredible flip of the script is in a grave which he will then turn into a garden there is a reversal of death story going on here sir if you have carried him away tell me where have you put him and I will get him Jesus said to her mary there is something about the way that he says her name that seems to be this moment of res revelation and for a writer that loves to tap back to his old stories and think about ways that those implicate the story he’s telling now I’m fascinated by just why it is that it’s her name that just brings all of this to the surface in john chapter 10 verse 27 we’re told by Jesus my sheep listen to my voice I know them and they follow me the land word there listen is sometimes hear something about the way that a voice sounds to mary is what tweaks it to the fact that this is Jesus a eastern shepherd wouldn’t drive his sheep like a western shepherd would they would name them name them based on their idiosyncrasies name them based on just the little quirks of their nature and that’s why you see Jesus give simon the name peter it’s some rock-like tendency that he notices about peter that gives him that nickname mary somewhere hears Jesus call her voice and it’s this moment this moment that will turn the darkness of the early morning into the light of sunrise this moment that will be transformative for her she turned towards him and cried out in aramaic robonai there is this interchange that moves mary who has been in darkness who has been brought into light through her encounter with Jesus and then risks returning back into darkness it’s this moment that brings light the light of this gospel story to her that reveals to her this Jesus as his risen self Jesus said do not hold on to me for I have not yet ascended to the father go instead to my brothers and tell them I am ascending to my father and your father to my God and your God that’s like a whole sermon like I’m like there’s a whole geography apparently to resurrection that we need to know somewhere there’s an ascension and then another ascension and there’s all this different interplay what I would say in just in this moment is the one word that stands out there is this word go Jesus encounters mary she encounters him as risen and she’s the first one that he says go take this story to if you were writing a made-up story if you were inventing this this would be a horrible way for getting the story traction if you were thinking through ways that you would get people to pay attention to it there are plenty of followers of Jesus that you could pick pick nicodemus as the first person that experienced Jesus has risen he was important he was a member of the pharisees pick uh joseph of arimathea a member of a important council have them share the story pick anyone who’s male but in this moment to send mary as the first representative of resurrection if you were making the story up in a first century context this was a recipe for making sure nobody believed your story ever it was just destroying it on the ground level one of the fascinating things to me of resurrection is the fact that Jesus says the story is true and I’m gonna share it with whoever I want to share it and the whole story is based on a group of women who would not be considered reliable witnesses in a first century context if you were making the story up it just doesn’t make sense for some reason it starts with mary as this first person who is sent to go mary magdalene went to the disciples with the news I have seen the lord and she told them that he had said these things to us think about our story that we participate in this Jesus story for those of you who call yourselves followers of Jesus we sang about it earlier this flame that is lit that covers the entire world that is constantly expanding and constantly going it is a bunch of little flames that are using language somewhat like that we go to the world and say I have seen Jesus I have experienced him as risen his death his resurrection they mean something and they are transformative the first person to go and do that this is the moment you are seeing the first messenger of this gospel the eastern church came to know mary magdalene as issa apostle equal with the apostles because she was the first to go and share this news I love that I love that for this simple reason at her lowest point at her darkest point she encounters Jesus this message that we’re told that is transformative for the whole world has transformed someone in this moment and she’s the one that gets sent it gives me hope in my moments where I examine the inner workings of my own heart and say man can I do that and I get this response of yes because I took someone who was at the lowest who wasn’t considered able to be a witness who from whom I took seven demons someone who was at their most broken and I brought transformation to her life if I brought transformation to her I can also bring transformation to you and if I can then say to her no you go then when I say to you to go you also can go there is something about mary’s point of beginning at that lowest point that just fits with Jesus and his incredible way of doing ministry in ways that sometimes just they just don’t make sense john characterizes the entirety of Jesus work around bringing light from darkness the light has shine and the darkness cannot overcome it his death and resurrection change everything for this world but they change everything for you and I as well for mary in this moment of standing by a tomb of the one that has brought light to her she is left in this potential trauma of what does that mean now what happens if I end up in darkness again what happens if there is now know Jesus to bring me out of that darkness Jesus resurrection means incredibly that he is constantly present in that Jesus resurrection does not guarantee continual ease assurance of constant felicity or even perfect transformation in this present moment it does guarantee the perpetual presence of one able to repeatedly bring us from darkness into light and who is able to partner with us to see transformation in a continual present tense this story is centered around transformation for this whole world and for you and I this story is centered around light from darkness for this whole world and for you and I and in those moments that mary is first sent I would love to imagine Jesus celebrating that moment of her going and sharing this good news around this verse in first peter you are a chosen people a royal priesthood a holy nation God’s special possession that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light wherever you sit in your journey right now it seems like Jesus longs to bring you out of darkness into his wonderful light that’s true when you sit in darkness for the first time and the second time and the third time and the fourth time when it feels like your story has got dark beyond belief when it feels like the story has slipped out from under your feet suddenly when it feels like it’s a gradual descent into a story that just doesn’t make sense anymore when you’re standing there asking questions how did it end up like this it seems the promise of resurrection is that this Jesus constantly enters our stories in our darkest places and says I continue to bring light some questions for you to reflect on how have you experienced darkness where have been those moments in your journey where you get to now look back and see the ways that this wonderful Jesus has stepped into your journey where do you experience darkness today perhaps you’d say I’ve never experienced Jesus do that and we’ve got people that would love to have a conversation with you about just what following Jesus looks like where do you need to hear Jesus speak where is it that you in this moment sit almost as it were beside a tomb and you need to hear your name spoken by this Jesus who loves you what might he ask you to do where might he send you as he brings you from darkness into wonderful light

Jesus thank you for the ways that this story is character captured by images of darkness and light

for so many of our community we might say I’ve been in a dark place and I’ve experienced you and your goodness and we are thankful thankful for you who rescues broken things and brings light to dark places

for some of us we might say this current place has become surprisingly dark and I’m not sure how to navigate it Jesus we need to know that you are risen and alongside us continually bringing light into the darkness

for us as we worship maybe we need to just hear you whisper annie help us to provide just to give the space for that to happen to do what mary did which is to linger even in this place that feels like a graveyard feels like a tomb feels full of darkness we linger and we wait and we don’t know what we’re waiting for but maybe in that moment we hear you speak and that might change everything for us

thank you that this good gospel story is big big enough to transform the world but but also it transforms us in whatever ways we need transformation

God I pray that we would experience you and the transformation we need thank you that you bring us like springtime from winter into new stories in times where we sat through the darkness of winter we await the arrival of the sun and the arrival of the warmth that it brings and are surprised by the new stories that emerge unexpectedly

we thank you for your goodness and wait to see it again in new ways amen