An encounter with the risen Jesus
Jane Clamp recalls her Easter experience with God on the beach.
It was my first Easter since becoming a Christian the summer before. Now 14, I had attended Sunday School for ten years and knew all the stories but, during the Good Friday service, I found myself moved like never before. Afterwards, some friends proposed a picnic in a local park. It was sunny and unseasonably warm, the mood relaxed and carefree, but I was ill-at-ease. Jesus had just died – or so it felt – and I was grieving His loss.
Coming home early, I holed myself up in my bedroom, only to find the next day was no better. Saturday, I went around in a daze, with that sense of emptiness and low mood known all-too-well by the bereaved. Jesus was gone. But, like all the best stories, there was twist in the plot: Easter Sunday was coming!
I set my alarm ridiculously early on Sunday and crept out of the house. I pedalled my bike in the dark down to the seafront, where I took my solitary place on the shingle and waited. The sky was already beginning to lighten and my eyes focussed on that spot on the horizon where the action would soon happen. It wasn’t many minutes before the object of my quest came into view, the new day’s sun, surrounding itself with striped robes of colour.
By the increasing light, I read from my Bible: John chapter 20, describing Mary’s encounter with the risen Jesus. As I reached the part where Jesus says, ‘Mary, Mary,’ I began to weep.
She had seen him die, believed him gone forever, but here he was, speaking her name in that precious way he always had. This was not the gardener, as she’d assumed. This was not another day of heartbreak and despair, as she’d expected. This was not the end; not for her and not for me. My tears, like hers, were ones of relief and gratitude.
The Bible says that ‘all who call on the name of the Lord shall be saved.’ I have a strong suspicion that it’s God who whispers our name first, encouraging our response to Him in return. Mary knew the voice of her Lord. Though for some of us it’s less familiar, an encounter with the risen Jesus can happen for us when we least expect it.
Christ is risen!
He is risen indeed!
The image above is courtesy of Asta Gatterwe from Pixabay.com
Jane Clamp is the author of Too Soon, a devotional on the subject of miscarriage, published by SPCK in August 2018. A member of the Association of Christian Writers, she writes for local and national radio. In her spare time she is an interior designer and musician.
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