It feels as though spring has arrived in the UK. Blossom decks the trees in our tiny garden and the aubrietia is a vibrant purple. Whether it is spring or autumn, the dry or rainy season in your part of the world, a garden can be a space in which to meditate on the wonderful message of Easter.
Let’s go in our imagination to the Garden of Eden. The story of this garden reminds us that our pride and disobedience spoils our relationship with God. Our failure to admit our mistakes puts up a barrier between us and God and between us and other people. Our news media shows that the world is still far from enjoying the perfect harmony and beauty God intended. In the suffering caused by war, violence, injustice and greed, God’s world is divided and hurting still. We are challenged to own up to our own failings as followers of Christ, our own contributions to this ugliness and pain.
So we find ourselves in the Garden of Gethsemane, witnesses in our imagination to the pain and suffering of Jesus as he contemplates his own death so that we can be forgiven, restored and reunited with our God. There among the olive trees, Jesus agonises over the knowledge of what he needs to do. In his ultimate sacrifice, we are to be offered a way back to the heart of God. Yet, finding his pain hard to bear, we may discover we close our eyes to his suffering.
On Easter morning we shall come to another garden, and find with Mary the empty tomb, the angelic messengers and the risen Lord. We shall realise afresh that Jesus has overcome the power of death and has claimed the ultimate victory over our sin. The alienation of Eden has given way to the fellowship of eternity. We discover new hope, new joy, new possibilities of relationships, and a new beauty in our lives. We remember we are chosen people with a message to proclaim: ‘Jesus is alive! Alleluia! There is hope.’
Wishing you all a blessed and joyful Easter,