In some sections of the Christian Church the leadership of women is still unwelcome.

I think it is ironic, therefore, that on the first Easter Day it was a woman not a man, Mary Magdalene, who was the first to score a hat-trick.

Firstly, Mary was the first to discover that Jesus’s tomb was empty: there was no body. Some have subsequently denied this fact.

However, if Jesus's body was still in the tomb why was it never produced to stop the growth of the Jesus movement in its tracks? No, the tomb was empty, and death defeated.

Secondly, Mary was the first person to experience the Risen Lord on the first Easter Day. She originally thought he was the gardener, until she recognised him by his voice. She then knew without a shadow of doubt that he was alive.

Today’s followers of Jesus believe that he is alive not simply on the basis of historical facts, but more importantly because we too experience his risen presence with us. No matter what our circumstances might be we know that Jesus is with us and will never leave us nor forsake us.

Finally, Mary was the first to be commissioned to share the good news about his resurrection with others. She became the first evangelist.

Jesus wants us too to tell others that he is alive and is present with us on life's journey. This news is too good to keep to ourselves.

Have a joyous Easter!

This week’s thought: Through death comes new life.