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Meditation –
Easter Day Year B

Psalm 118: 1-2, 19-29

Ezekiel 37: 1-14

Mark 16: 1-8

1 Corinthians 15: 1-11

God makes impossible things possible

When Moses led the children of Israel out of Egypt, they became trapped on the shores of the Red Sea, with Pharaoh’s army in hot pursuit. It looked as if their hopes of the Promised Land were over, but God divided the waters and led them through on dry land. Afterwards, Moses and the Israelites sang a song of praise to the God who had achieved what had looked to be impossible. “The Lord is my strength and my song ...” (Exodus 15 v 2).

Those words are reiterated in Psalm 118, which goes on to give credit to the Lord for the surprising things he has done; “the Lord has done this and it is marvellous in our eyes” (v 23). Interestingly, in 1558, Queen Elizabeth – an excellent Bible scholar - quoted that verse when against all odds she was released from captivity and raised to the throne of England. Of course this Psalm is prophetic of a much greater event, for it speaks of the one who opens the “gates of righteousness” (v 19) for us; the one who appears to have been overlooked and rejected but who proves to be the “capstone” (v 22) – the crucial stone inserted to anchor a wall, or the keystone to hold an archway.

The prophet Ezekiel had no difficulty in putting faith in a God who could perform the impossible. His vision of a valley full of the bones of the long-dead (Ezekiel 37 v 1-14) is recorded in his prophecy along with God’s promise that they would live again. His words were to be fulfilled in the national resurrection and reunification of the divided, defeated and deported nation of Israel whose “hope was gone” (v 11). The impossible had been made possible once again.

And so we come to Easter Day. The Easter Story is all about events that are apparently impossible. It had seemed impossible to the disciples that Jesus should die; how could a good man be put to death as a criminal? But he was. And surely he was more than a man; how could God die? And yet he did.

But then the most impossible happened. Jesus, who had been dead for three days, wrapped in linen, weighed down with 75 pounds of spices (John 19 v 39) and sealed in a cave with a huge stone, came back to life, whole and perfect, and emerged from the tomb. In Mark’s gospel, an angel tells the women, “He has risen. He is not here ... you will see him, just as he told you.” (v 7) as if it were the most ordinary thing in the world.

To the apostle Paul, these facts are of “first importance” (1st Corinthians 15 v 3). Jesus died for our sins, was buried and was raised on the third day. It is on these impossible truths that our faith is founded.

A meditation by Susan Thorne
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