Easter Sunday, April 17, 2022 | John 20: 19-23
The Very Rev. Aidan Smith
We’re told St. Mary Magdalene arrived at the garden tomb, “early on the first day of the week.” The Gospel’s author could have said she arrived “on Sunday” or even “three days after” Jesus died on the cross. But he doesn’t. Why? Why does St. Mary Magdalene, the Apostle to the Apostles, arrive on the “first day of the week”?
John’s Gospel is framed as a retelling of the story of Genesis. In the first chapters of Genesis, we find a poetic account of God creating the universe over a period of seven “days.” On the sixth day, God formed human beings and placed them in the Garden of Eden. Unfortunately, the first humans failed to abide by God’s will and, as a result, death entered the world for all.
When we’re told that the resurrection occurred on the first day of the week (in a garden no less), we’re meant to think of God’s creative power. Jesus’ resurrection is the “first day” of God’s new creation, breaking into the old, fallen world. In a very real sense, God is transforming this world, and forming a new humanity, bound by faith in the Risen Lord. We, who believe in the message of Jesus, share in this new life and we participate in God’s new creation.
St. Paul will later reflect on all this and call Jesus’ resurrection the “firstfruits” of what is to come for those who believe. Like the first grapes of the season or the first autumn apple picked in an orchard, Jesus’ resurrection life is the first fruit of more life to come for the created order. Just as nobody who plants an orchard or vineyard expects only one grape or one apple per harvest, God’s harvest doesn’t end in the Garden tomb. A greater harvest will eventually come. You and I are a part of that harvest. Today, we’re reminded that the resurrection life of Jesus extends out to all and will one day be experienced everywhere, by everyone. One day, suffering, illness, pain, and death will be no more. The harvest of God’s new creation will be bountiful. Until that day, we place our faith in the miracle of the Risen One. We embrace the life he brings. Even now, everything is being made new.
“Alleluia, the Lord is risen!” “The Lord is risen indeed, alleluia!”
Fr. Aidan is the Dean of Trinity Cathedral. He’s been married to Mel for 15 years and takes responsibility for the two incredibly cute but loud kids at church (Felicity, 5 and Solomon, 3). The Smiths also have a geriatric, one-eyed dog named Coho from Aidan’s hometown in northwestern Alaska.