A gardener plants flowers in the midst of war-torn Kyiv as the city endures heavy artillery
Wars are waged in Europe.
Floods ravage the Northern Rivers.
A pandemic continues to threaten our way of life.
During these times, perhaps our deepest question is not “is God real?”
Perhaps our deepest question is “could God possibly be found in the midst of all of *this*?”
All of this pain
All of this suffering
All of this betrayal
All of this corruption
All of this disappointment
All of this heartache
The answer that Good Friday offers us is
The Easter story demonstrates that God is not only present with us, but suffers with and for us. God is not absent, but is to be found in the most lowly and unlikely of places – in deep solidarity with our most human of experiences.
During Easter, many in the Christian Tradition observe the ‘stations of the cross’. It’s a kind of virtual pilgrimage that retraces Jesus’ last steps leading to his crucifixion. During that time we see him:
-Betrayed by a friend
-Suffering the violence of angry men
-Being unjustly condemned by an unjust and corrupt legal system
-Suffering physical pain and the feeling of forsakenness.
-Ultimately die in agonising humiliation and rejection.
He takes on all of our violence in order to transform and heal it.
He descends into death, and doesn’t simply ‘come back’, but goes all the way through to the other side.
And what does Jesus look like on the other side?
Well, when Mary discovered the empty tomb she mistook the risen Jesus for the gardener.
What does the Son of God look like in his glorified and resurrected state?
Apparently he looks like a gardener.
And He continues to plant flower beds in war-torn places, cultivating new life where there was none, bringing joy in the depths of mourning.
Even today, he continues to turn graveyards into gardens.