I share a PC at home with Giles. When one of our sons set it up - and it's always the very young who do this for us! - we each had to choose an icon to represent us on screen - to differentiate our email accounts. Don't you have this on your computers? Anyway, by the time I got to choose my icon the choice was limited; Giles had taken the one I fancied - the eagle! I wanted a bird, but, yes, you've guessed, the only bird left was a penguin.

Now there's nothing wrong with penguins; they're cute and cuddly- at least the stuffed ones are! I have watched some remarkably silly but very entertaining films about penguins - Penguins of Madagascar comes to mind; no, I haven't seen Happy Feet! Yet! Daniel pointed out to me that the Russian Patriarch, when visiting Antarctica, loved the huge community of penguins that lived there so happily together without boundaries. Penguins are great: they are monogamous, at least for the length of a breeding season! They look after their young, they live in community - they are altogether good eggs!

So, I am happy to be a penguin, a good egg.But if I think about it longer, I find that being a penguin is dissatisfying. There is something missing! Something singularly significant! If I am to be a bird, I want to be a proper bird; I want to be a bird that flies. I want to soar in the sky, to feel the wind, to rest on the up currents, to swoop and hover, to experience the freedom of the skies, the freedom of the air, the freedom of flight.
Yes, you've guessed, I want to be eagle! I really want to be an eagle - I want to be an eagle like John the Evangelist. Do you see his symbol up there in the window above the altar? John, whose story of Jesus so often soars into the realms of mysticism - we remember from our readings at Christmas: In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God and the Word was God ... And today he completes that story - the Word, Jesus, is risen from the dead. Jesus is transformed, and will soon ascend to be with the Father.

Because today is the day we celebrate resurrection and transformation. We celebrate Jesus's triumph over death, his transformation, the first of the new-born from the dead, the first of God's new creation. "Do not hold on to me" he tells Mary, "because I have not yet ascended to the Father". We do not know ourselves in full, what we could be - only God knows what he intends for each one of us. Only God knows our full potential - "for now we see in a mirror dimly ... Now I see only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been known" (1Cor 13:12). " ... O Lord ... you are acquainted with all my ways ... in your book were written all the days that were formed for me ... " (Ps139)

Although God knows us to the core of our being, our eyes are often veiled: just as you didn't recognise me as a penguin, we very often don't recognise people for what they are. We don't see either the potential they have, or, we don't see what they have already become. Mary saw Jesus standing there but she did not know that it was Jesus. She didn't recognise him; she wasn't looking for the unexpected. She was in a garden, so she thought she saw the gardener. We do that all the time - I frequently fail to recognise people if they turn up in unexpected contexts.

We watch our children growing up marvelling as they change and wondering what they will be. But then we often find it difficult to see our children as the adults they have become - we still see them as the children they were. We see faces on our television screens of crowds of refugees and migrants fleeing their countries - or do we? Do we see their faces, the individuals who may be doctors, nurses, teachers in their own countries, or do we just see a faceless crowd? When we come together ourselves in church, do we see "a congregation", the usual folks who come, or do we really look at each other, to look below the surface, to see the individual?

Appearances are so very often deceptive. Look at nature all around us: the caterpillar becomes a butterfly; the egg hatches the new life of a chicken; the ugly duckling becomes a swan. It's as if our Creator God delights in fooling us, leaving us guessing, or prompting us to greater discernment! Or was he just leaving himself scope for his new creation? What are we destined to become? One day, God willing, my penguin self will be fully part of that new creation and will soar as an eagle. Christ is risen! He is risen indeed!