No media available


John 20:1-18

Alright team, thanks for gathering early this morning on Mt. Tolmie. Our workout today involves running hill repeats. We’ll run from the picnic area down to the base and back. See how many repeats you can get in the next 25 min. One minute slow walk down the hill when you reach the top. Ready to set your watches?

          Okay, so we’re not running hill repeats on Easter Sunrise. And yet there is a lot of running in the Easter gospel from John. Mary Magdalene runs to tell Peter about the stone rolled away. Then Peter and another disciple are running back to the tomb. It’s an exceptional amount of running, which suggests they’re all a bit surprised by what is happening. Perhaps better is to say Mary, Peter, and others are confused. Generally this isn’t what happens when you lay someone who has died in a tomb. They don’t simply disappear.

          And so they’re trying to process what is going on. As a result Mary doesn’t recognize Jesus when he suddenly appears, thinking he’s the gardener. Now I don’t think it’s just a case of mistaken identity. It’s not they were in a running group together and don’t recognize Jesus because he’s now wearing work clothes for example. But rather that we can’t comprehend God doing a new thing. We are so conditioned by anxiety, fear, and death that like the first disciples, we can’t imagine the resurrection. No part of this story makes any sense in terms of the resurrection. God just surprises us with this twist ending to the story.

          The truth is that we’re so used to running around being upset by everything we see and hear, we’re not prepared for something unexpected that’s actually good. We’re rightfully angry and upset about climate, Gaza, racism, queer-phobia, housing, healthcare, and public systems failing us every day. We are unprepared for the good news of Easter. The good news of love bursting in the world and our lives.

          It doesn’t mean that our struggles and crises simply go away. But it does mean they don’t have the last word. Know that the Easter gospel of love in the midst of struggle and death is for you. Whatever you are carrying with you today, whatever lies heavier on your heart. Know that the Jesus proclaims love for you.


          Just as the Easter gospel of love is for our trans siblings in Christ who we remember today on Trans Day of Visibility. Even though Victoria has the highest per capita population of trans people in Canada, they continue seeking refuge from a hostile world. Jesus proclaims love for them.

          The Easter gospel of love is for our multifaith friends, marching for Gaza, those Jewish, Muslim, and Palestinian voices seeking an end to violence. I think about courageous people I have met with the Zedek Collective for example, Jewish voices for Gaza, to save lives. God proclaims love for them.

          The Easter gospel of love is for people seeking affordable housing as we rejoice that the Luther Housing project has received funding from the province. I counted myself as someone who had given upon hope on this project. After years of preparation and waiting, it seemed like that ship had sailed. And yet seemingly out of nowhere, God provided a way, proclaiming love for those in need of a place to call home.

          The Easter gospel of love is for Mary and the women who were the first to hear the gospel and take a risk on trusting Jesus. The men were more cowardly and only came afterwards. We give thanks every time women and girls have the opportunity to receive equal opportunities in life. We celebrate that trans and Two-Spirit women are women. Jesus proclaims love for women and girls.

          And while we may not be running hill repeats this Easter Sunday, we are running ahead together with Mary and Peter. We are running ahead to meet Jesus, fearful, confused and apprehensive. And yet God finds a way to disrupt our mixed emotions, showering us with love. Teaching us to trust in the gift of the Easter story of resurrection. That this unconditional love is for us and is to be shared through love of neighbour. Amen.