Easter Thursday

Luke 24:35-48

Today’s Gospel invites us to stand with the disciples as Jesus appears among them. They are startled and Jesus reassures them with his greeting of ‘Peace be with you.’ Understandably they think he is a ghost and he reassures them again: ‘Touch me and see for yourselves.’

If I imagine myself among the disciples I think I probably would have held back a little and waited to see if one of the other disciples did actually move forward and touch him. This is an intimate moment. Jesus doesn’t say, ‘Don’t get too close. This is my glorified body. Be careful.’ No, he wants his disciples to be close enough to touch him.

I’ve often been asked about death and resurrection and what happens when we die. My answer is always the same: Jesus is our model. He appears in flesh and blood. His body still bears the scars of his death. He can eat. He can cook. But he isn’t recognisable at first. There is something different about him.

Imagine Jesus saying to you; ‘Touch me and see for yourself.’

How do you respond?

Easter Wednesday

Luke 24:13-35

Luke paints the picture of the disciples at the end of an emotional journey where crucifixion has dashed their hopes. As they walk they talk to each other. There is a sense in which the journey is a time of healing as the disciples verbalise the experiences of the past days. A stranger joins them. Rather than intimidating, the presence of the stranger deepens the process as, for his benefit, they re-tell the story. With each step of the journey they are in fact moving closer towards Christ. We might imagine that their pace quickens as they talk about the things that they hold most dear.

‘Did not our hearts burn within us as he talked to us on the road and explained the Scriptures to us?’

This is one of my favourite lines from the story. The disciples have felt at the core of their being the power of God’s word. I would love to swap places with them and hear Jesus explain the Scriptures.

Are there verses of Scripture which make your heart burn within you?

Easter Tuesday

John 20:11-18

‘Woman, why are you weeping?’

‘Oh, it’s okay, don’t cry.’ It’s surprising how often as I primary teacher I was urging children not to cry. It seems to be one of the first things you say to a child to reassure them when something upsetting has happened. First you try to get them to stop crying and then you ask what is the matter.

In the space of just a few verses of scripture Mary Magdalene has been asked twice why she is weeping. I like to imagine that both the angels and Jesus are using a gentle tone here and not a harsh one. Both times Mary is given the space to answer. From our vantage point the reason for her crying is so legitimate and so understandable. Then comes the moment of recognition as Jesus speaks her name. Did those tears dry instantly as she heard her name? Did she take a breath and feel her heart expand a little?

During the pandemic we were faced more obviously with the process of grief and the place that tears play in that. We read the stories of NHS workers who ended their shifts in tears. These have been tears of grief, frustration and of love. These tears are not a sign of weakness but of love.

How can you show your love for others today?

Women of Holy Week, Mary, wife of Cleopas’ Story (8)

Listen to Mary’s Story

Read: 24:13-35

Mary and Cleopas are heavy hearted as they begin their journey. Have you known times on your own faith journey when what you hoped for hasn’t materialised?

Mary and Clopas find themselves sharing their hopes and fears with Jesus. Imagine yourself doing this too.

That simple act of breaking bread is the moment of recognition for Mary and Cleopas. Where have you recognised Jesus during this past week?

Image © Ally Barrett (www.reverendally.org) and used by permission 

Women of Holy Week, Mary Magdalene’s story (7)

Listen to Mary Magdalene’s story

Read John 20:1-18

As you listened to Mary Magdalene’s story were there words and images which struck you?

Mary and her companions beg, borrow and buy all the spices that they can. What lengths might you go to in showing honour to someone?

Jesus says Mary’s name and in that moment she knows her Lord. How have you recognised your Lord during this Triduum?

Image © Ally Barrett (www.reverendally.org) and used by permission 

Women of Holy Week, Salome’s Story (6)

Listen to Salome’s story.

Read Mark 15:1-41 and John 19:17-37

Salome speaks about the teaching of Jesus ‘making sense of the world’ and making ‘sense of me’. What are the parts of Jesus’ teaching that help you to make sense of the world and sense of yourself?

Salome and her companions draw together when they hear that Jesus has been arrested. They follow close by. Do you have a friend, or a group of friends who have been there in difficult times? Have you stayed close by as difficult situation unfolded?

Image © Ally Barrett (www.reverendally.org) and used by permission. 

Women of Holy Week, Joanna’s Story (5)

Listen to Joanna’s Story

Read Mark 14:12-25

Joanna pays a fisherman to take her to the place where Jesus was preaching.
What lengths have you gone to in your own life to find Jesus?

How does Joanna’s telling of the meal in the Upper Room speak to you?

Joanna speaks of Jesus allowing you to ‘grow into the truth that he brought in your own time.’ How have you grown into the truth this Lent?

Image © Ally Barrett (www.reverendally.org) and used by permission. 

Susannah’s Story (4)

Listen to Susannah’s Story

Read Matthew 26:6-13
Mark 14:3-9
Luke 7:36-50
John 12:1-8

When Susannah’s father gives her an alabaster jar he says: ‘Something precious for the most precious person I know. Open it on a special occasion, dear one.’
Have you ever been given something precious? Have you ever kept something for a special occasion?

When you picture the scene of a woman anointing Jesus, where is your attention drawn? What do you notice and feel?

Image © Ally Barrett (www.reverendally.org) and used by permission. 

Women of Holy Week, Anna’s Story (3)

Listen to Anna’s Story

Read Luke 2:22-38 and Mark 12:38-44

Anna talks of visiting her great aunt and listening to old stories of her faith.
Who are the storytellers in your own life?

Her great aunt tells her ‘It’s your story, too- never let them paint you out.’
Which Biblical women have inspired you?

Image © Ally Barrett (www.reverendally.org) and used by permission.