Acts 10: 34-43
Psalm 118: 1-2, 14-24
1 Corinthians 15: 1-11
John 20: 1-18
Something happened. Something happened and something is happening.
Something happened on a hill, in a garden and in an upper room long ago in Jerusalem. Something is happening on beaches, in churches, shopping malls, hotels and university campuses today; in villages we have never heard of and cities and towns where many of us have never been and where most of us will probably never go.
Something happened and something is happening.
What happened, on first glance, was not all that unusual. It was a brief encounter between a grief stricken woman and a caring gardener. But what actually happened changed lives and set in motion a tidal wave that continues to toss and turn people nearly 2000 years later. A question asked. A name spoken. A pair of eyes opened. A command given. A breathless run taken.
What’s the most frightening thing that has ever happened to you? The thing which made your stomach turn over and your heart to race? For me it was having to start a new school halfway through a term. By then everyone had already got their friends, and sitting next to them. I can remember that first day, walking into a class full of children, all staring at me, and none of whom I knew. I did make friends pretty quickly, but what I suppose I remember above all, was the awful feeling of not belonging.
The first day I went to university I had the same sinking feeling in my stomach. I remember walking through the college looking for my rooms. It was staircase V, I remember. Eventually I found the door, and then…I saw it…painted carefully in small white letters above the door: G. R. Tristram. My name. I felt so happy. I really belong here!
Baptism of Our Lord Jesus Christ
Isaiah 42: 1 – 9; Psalm 29; Acts 10: 34 – 43; Matthew 3: 13 – 17
I don’t know if I actually saw it the first time. I think I did, but I can’t swear to it. It was on my first visit to Jerusalem and the course I was taking at St. George’s College had spent a few days in and around the Old City. We had then departed for Egypt and had been to Cairo and then on to St. Anthony’s Monastery and to St. Catharine’s in the Sinai. We had crossed the Gulf of Aqaba on the Red Sea and had visited Madaba, Petra and Nebo in Jordan. We were finally heading back to Jerusalem and had just passed through the border crossing into the West Bank and were driving over the Allenby Bridge when our course director announced that at that moment we were crossing the Jordon River. Luckily I had a window seat, but even in the moment it took me to turn my head and look out the window, we were over the river and all that could be seen as we drove off was the lush growth of trees, scrub and brush that outlined the river bank. I remember seeing that, but I don’t actually remember seeing any water, much less anything that passed as a river, at least to my mind.