One of the things people challenge Christians with is the apparent absence of God in the world. When there is tragic loss of life, where there is famine or gross injustice, where then is God?
So it is an extraordinary twist of fate that at the heart of the greatest Christian festival of Easter, there is an absence – the absence of a body in the tomb.
When Jesus died on Good Friday, his disciples scattered – confused, fearful, without direction, without a future. But the absence of a body on Easter Sunday was altogether different. Now they saw Jesus everywhere – in the garden, on the road to Emmaus, as they fished, as they gathered together. And not as some spooky ghost of the past, but as the recognisable presence of the Son of God, risen from the dead.
This is what we are celebrating at St Mary’s Church this Eastertide – our God, real, alive, recognisable and present. Martin Luther wrote: “Our Lord has written the promise of resurrection, not in books alone, but in every leaf in springtime”. He has also written that promise on every human heart.