Genesis 48-50; John 20; Psalm 33
And so we come once more to the beginning. A Man and a Woman in the garden – deep archetypes of Life and also Life giving. The Church with her ‘Rabboni’. But there is far more. Christian faith is often reduced to ‘a second chance’, a ‘new start’ – we tend in the words of the author Dallas Willard, towards ‘a gospel of sin management’ – but something of far greater significance is revealed here. This is no New beginning, starting over. If it were then what cause now two thousand years later would we have for any hope?
In our culture, dominated by the clock, we understand time ‘like an ever rolling stream’, progressing from ‘The Beginning’ and moving towards ‘The End?’. So talk of new beginnings are just that, of always going back to the beginning, in seemingly endless and increasingly hopeless cycles. (In a horrible irony, our culturally unique understanding of human progress is based on this assumption of how time works).
But ours is not the only way of Knowing time and this gospel reveals something far more profound. That the Life which is in Christ is Eternal. Christ in the garden with Mary Reveals all of our Chronological time in a moment. In the deep ‘past’ of Eden, the distant ‘future’ of The New Jerusalem, the Kingdom of God is Now – Present.
And we are invited to Life in that Present – Knowing God – Loving and Loved – One with each other and Him, Now. Eternally. The Life of Worship and prayer that we enjoy together, One in Him, is to inhabit that Life.
In a sense what this reveals is shown in the Parable of the Prodigal, where the younger son ‘came to his senses’ – to See things as they are, if dimly. When we inhabit the Eternal we come to Know as we are fully Known – our Home is Always with the Father. To Live in this moment is to come Home.