So, there’s this garden. In it we see a woman crying. She’s blinded by grief.

She has stumbled her way there. She hadn’t slept.

So, she doesn’t notice the signs of beauty and newness around her. Like the dew on the grass, or the flowers reaching for the sun.

She knows only sadness.

So, her gaze is downward when she hears footsteps through her veil of tears, a question stumbles out.

A question that mingles, sadness and anger.

The voice of love replies.

A voice that she cherished more than any other.

A voice she longed to hear and would know anywhere.

A voice that calls her by name.

The love song of God that have we recalled over the last few days has sung a new song of life into the lifeless body of Jesus.

The faith and trust that Jesus placed in the way of love on Friday has been fulfilled.

He is risen!

From then on nothing could ever be the same. The impossible had happened. Love’s redeeming work was done.

Jesus stood alongside her in a garden. It’s no coincidence that his new life is seen first in the garden as it reminds us of another garden, the garden of Eden.

Now the fall of that garden is restored – the cycle of hatred and evil is broken. Another way has been opened up.

For us our journey through Lent has ended. Yet as the Gospel this morning reminds us we find ourselves at a beginning.

It was a beginning for Mary as she ran from that place to tell the others.

It was a beginning for them as they deniers and betrayers, see for themselves that the tomb was empty and that love has prevailed.

And for us too it is a kind of beginning.

For though many of us may have been here before each Easter new possibilities are opened up. New perspectives on the story are discovered that have an impact on our lives.

So, in some sense we begin again too with hearts and minds renewed having been drawn into the story afresh. A story in which we have been reminded who we are.

On Thursday we remembered that our calling is to love and serve one another.

On Friday though there are times when the cross weighs heavy upon us, we know Jesus has been there before.

And today on this blessed day our heart sings with a joy beyond words. As we too peer into the empty tomb and know for ourselves that he is risen. That not even death cannot separate us from the God of love.

The former envoy of the Archbishop of Canterbury Terry Waite once said that ‘at the end of the day love will win.’ These words were forged by the years he spent in captivity held in dark prison cells in the Middle East yet despite all he had to endure his song remained one of love.

Perhaps we have thought of ourselves as imprisoned a bit lately confined to our homes yet today, we remember that whatever is before us, both as individuals and as a community our song is of love.

And that love song is revealed in so many ways large and small for each offering rooted in love makes a difference and in some way are a reverberation of the great outpouring of love that first Easter Day.

So yes, each phone call, each text message, each offer to help does matter. They connect us with the Jesus who embodied love so perfectly.

Dear friends, in Lent we have strived to make space for God, to make space to encounter the love at the heart of everything revealed so powerfully in this Easter story.

So, let us sing our Easter songs as loud as we can – even at home. Let’s wake up the neighbours.

For this is not a day for mumbling into hymn books but singing with gusto that love is the way.

That the life-giving love of God is victorious.

That nothing can separate us from this love.

And that, each one of us like Mary is called by name no matter what life is like for us at this time to live as an Easter people and love as if our life depended upon it for

Christ is risen!

He is risen indeed, alleluia!