Early on the first day of the week the world was never the same again. As the sun rises on that first Easter morning John describes Mary Magdalene’s journey to the tomb who is completely unaware that the world is now no longer the same.
Her journey is defined by the terrible power of death, by the spitefulness and by the small mindedness of the people who nailed her beloved friend to death. Her journey is marked by tears of grief but unbeknown to her, her tears will be soon be washed away by a flood of joy when she discovers the wonder of God’s new creation.
John starts his Gospel with the phrase ‘In the beginning’, deliberately echoing the words of Genesis 1 and the creation of all things. By John chapter 20 these six days of the old creation have ended with Jesus’ shout of ‘It is finished!’ from the cross. Having completed his work Jesus enjoys his Sabbath rest as he lies buried in the tomb.
Early on the first day of the week is how John describes the heart and soul of Jesus’ resurrection; Jesus has unleashed the powers of new creation into this world. We sing ‘Thine be the glory, risen conquering Son’, not to celebrate our being able to go to heaven when we die but to celebrate the unleashing of God’s new creation into his world. We sing this because in the resurrected body of Jesus we see the foretaste of what a new heaven and earth, and what our own resurrected body, will look like one day.
Early on the first day of the week describes what our Lent read is about. The book starts with the contrast; not of Mabel and Hank as such, but of a life poised and ready to train to achieve its goal, and one that is not. The goal we are training for is the life we will one day live when we’ve been resurrected as Priests and Kings of God’s new heaven and earth. The life we’re called to live is not the life we’ve always wanted as such, instead it is the life we were created and redeemed for.
It is this life that is to dominate and direct how we are to live today; a life transformed by the new creation Jesus’ resurrection unleashed into this world.
Early on the first day of the week describes exactly what our life is to be like today, because this will be the life we will live for all eternity.