Easter Sunday – It’s all happening in the Garden…

Jesus heads to the garden

[Jesus enters the garden with his disciples…]

Which garden? On Easter Sunday I proposed that there was basically only one garden… Eden. And I was wrong. Egad! The greek word that the NRSV translates as “garden” is paradeisos, “paradise.” Who knew!

Why is this important? John’s Passion narrative, read on Good Friday, situates the entire story of Jesus’ betrayal, arrest, crucifixion, death, and burial within a garden. Amazing! So, witness, please, how he does it:

Chapter 18 After Jesus had spoken these words, he went out with his disciples across the Kidron valley to a place where there was a garden, which he and his disciples enteredNow Judas, who betrayed him, also knew the place, because Jesus often met there with his disciples. So Judas brought a detachment of soldiers together with police from the chief priests and the Pharisees, and they came there with lanterns and torches and weapons…

Chapter 18:25 Now Simon Peter was standing and warming himself. They asked him, ‘You are not also one of his disciples, are you?’ He denied it and said, ‘I am not.’ 26 One of the slaves of the high priest, a relative of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, asked, ‘Did I not see you in the garden with him?’ 27 Again Peter denied it, and at that moment the cock crowed.

Chapter 19:40 They took the body of Jesus and wrapped it with the spices in linen cloths, according to the burial custom of the Jews. 41 Now there was a garden in the place where he was crucified, and in the garden there was a new tomb in which no one had ever been laid. 42 And so, because it was the Jewish day of Preparation, and the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.

Chapter 20:14 When she had said this, she turned round and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not know that it was Jesus. 15 Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping? For whom are you looking?’ Supposing him to be the gardener, she said to him, ‘Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have laid him, and I will take him away.’ 16 Jesus said to her, ‘Mary!’ She turned and said to him in Hebrew, ‘Rabbouni!’ (which means Teacher).

It all happens within the theological, scriptural confines of a garden. 

Application: All of Easter season, in one sense, moves forward within the garden of our worlds – Jesus, other disciples, betrayal, arrest, condemnation, crucifixion, death, burial, and encounter with the Risen Jesus!

I now see Easter season as a time to say “What the heck just happened?” And to delve into the mystery of my wounded humanity in the garden with Jesus, with Mary and Simon Peter and the beloved disciple. And, in today’s gospel, with two angels… and Mary who supposed he was the gardener!

Here we all are in the gardens of our lives. Poke around. Seek the mysteries of your wounded humanity and the precious encounter with the Lord who calls each of us by name… in the garden!

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