Easter Pondering

by Christine Sine

by Carol Dixon

The season of Eastertide (Easter Sunday to Pentecost) seems to be slipping by quickly this year. I have felt an inner compulsion to re-read the accounts of some of the characters who met with the resurrected Jesus and walk with them for a while. I love the way the Easter season continues further into Spring in the Northern Hemisphere and there are so many wonderful Easter accounts in the Gospels for us to contemplate over the weeks between Easter and Ascension Day/Pentecost we are sometimes spoilt for choice.

Last year on Godspacelight I posted some of my imaginative Easter Meditations from the point of view of different characters in the story (Easter Reflections – Godspacelight).  

This year I’d like to share some pithy pointers to the stories written by Revd. David Jenkins, Moderator of Northern Synod of the United Reformed Church 1987-2001 and my former boss – I was Moderator’s secretary for 20 years and spent 14 interesting years typing up some of David’s books as well as the more mundane secretarial tasks of typing letters and preparing reports.  He has given me permission to reproduce his ponderings and is very happy for his reflections to be used for personal devotions and in worship.  

David invites his readers to ponder on each word or phrase and think about the points in the stories that speak particularly to us personally and what they might be saying to us today in the church.


Mary and the gardener   John 20.11-16

Harry Clarke, Jesus Appears to Mary Magdalene Chapel of the Sacred Heart,
Dingle Co. Kerry, Ireland Wiki media Commons






Dawn.  Garden tomb open. Jesus gone.
Mary of Magdala in tears.  Love tested.
Spirit destroyed. Horrific weekend.
Who to talk to?   Suddenly. A stranger.
Or is the gardener? Short conversation. 
Mary: “I’ve lost my dearest friend!
Where have you put him?” 
Stranger: “Mary!”   Mary: “Rabboni”
Life returns.  Spirit renewed.
Easter miracle.

Prayer: Jesus, when grief is raw,
reach out to us;
when endings crowd our days, 
create a new dawn for us.
Only you can  turn the world’s  fears
and tears into opportunities
for love and hope.  

Image from teachingthem.com

Goin’ fishin’   John 21.1-6

Disciples all at sea. Shock. Trauma. Guilt-filled.  Jesus gone. Three years down the drain. What next?  Peter, James, John, Galilean used-to-be-fishermen. So what now?   

“At least we were good at that!” Peter: “Goin’ fishin” Back to the big lake.  But no luck. No fish.  Stranger on the shore. “Try the other side!” (The cheek of it!) But he is spot on.  Huge catch.  “Good grief! It’s him!”.

Prayer: God of every lost disciple and pilgrim soul,
keep surprising us when we are all at sea.
Reach out and let your presence resurrect us.
In calm or storm, at dawn or dusk,
let us hear your “Shalom” on the breeze. 

image public domain

Breakfast time  John 21.9-12

Fresh fish. Breakfast by the lake.  Talk about unexpected.  Jesus present after all.     No getting away. No good clinging to the past. Easter surprises point to the future.  Every meal, communion.  Fish. Bread.   Guilt wiped away in a simple meal.  Still fishing to do. A whole world out there. Eager for good news.

Prayer:   Welcoming God, please keep calling us to eat and drink with you,
   so that every meal becomes sacrament
   and every human being a precious guest.
  Call us into fellowship and friendship
  until we find Easter strength for each new day.

Hiking  Luke 24. 13-19

Hikers on the road.  Two very sad figures. Not famous disciples.
Cleopas and A.N Other.
Minds, spirits crushed
by the tragedy of recent days. 
Jesus crucified. Horrible. 
Then another walker joins them, going their pace.  Now there are three.
Silence.   The stranger says little.
He soaks up their grief,
anger and despair. 
It seems he has not read the papers. 
They walk.  Their unburdening
seems to give them peace.  He helps them reflect and, as they walk,
the mist lifts, things become clearer. Amazingly, the stranger helps them
to understand Easter.

Prayer:     Mysterious God,
you come to us as one unknown.
You come not with judgment
but with compassion,
not hurrying us but gently
 leading us to clarity.
Come alongside us, we pray,
as earth-pilgrims-in-need, 
to lift, carry, transform.

Screenshot 2024 05 01 at 8.03.57 PM

image from Emmaus Road Ministries

B & B at Emmaus  Luke 24. 28-32

Time to find accommodation.  Two pilgrims plus one. The stranger will now go his own way. Or will he?  No, they persuade him to join them.  Five star hospitality.  Must put it on Trip advisor.  They share their evening meal. Then, Wow!  The stranger, breaks open the loaf, and it dawns on them who he is. It’s him! In all their journeying, unburdening, and shared blisters,  they had been in the presence of the Jesus man!   Easter joy is incognito. Deep. Hidden. Amazing.

Prayer:    Hidden God,  heal broken hearts by broken bread.
Help us to draw Easter strength for our own time.
When endings are all we can think of,
let your loving hospitality open our lives
To receive your Easter gifts of peace, joy and love. 

*    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *    *

I took up David’s challenge to think of key points in one of the Easter stories myself and came up with the following:

Thomas   John 24-29

Declaration – die with him. Disaster – death, of his Master. Doubt and Disbelief,  – unless I see for myself. Depression turned to delight – Display of Wounds. Deeply moved. Devotion DECLARATION MY LORD AND MY GOD!  Blessed are those who believe without seeing.

 Prayer:   Loving Lord, often like Thomas we doubt your power
to rise above the death-like situations in our lives and in our world.
When we recall the ecological and human-made disasters, sudden deaths,
murders, painful experiences, and serious illness of people around us;
When we think of the wars, bombings, famines, and other disasters
which wreak havoc around us, we want to run away and hide.
Help us to have the courage to reach out and touch your scars,
borne for the world, and for us, so that we may be healed,
renewed, and see your risen life in the broken people and places
of our world and acclaim you again as our Lord and our God.  Amen.

Now it’s your turn to ponder on your favourite Gospel passage for Easter. Over to you… 

Screenshot 2024 05 01 at 8.04.14 PM

Kruiskerk, Dordrecht, The Netherlands

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