I have seen the Lord! Mary says to the other disciples and friends. I have seen the Lord! After a night of death and destruction, of sadness and fear, of waiting and crying, Mary delivers this good news. Alleluia. Christ is risen! is the acclamation we shout.
We have walked with Jesus to the cross. We have watched and waited with one another. We have traced our story through the covenants between God and God’s people, the promise shown by the rainbow in the sky, the commandments given by God in the wilderness. We have read about the signs and wonders that point us to Jesus, the Son of God. We have witnessed violence and destruction, pain and sadness. And our journey takes us to this place of hope, this resurrection.
Today, this Easter day, is the inauguration and fulfillment of God’s amazing and abundant love for God’s creation. God has done something absolutely new and amazing, God has freed creation from the bondage of sin and death, God has raised what was dead, God has brought creation back from isolation and sinfulness, God has filled humanity with grace and love.
Jesus begins this new creation that God has promised for each of us. If we but look, we can see the evidence all around us. But like Mary, we sometimes cannot see. Mary saw Jesus standing there before her, but did not know it was Jesus. Remember the story of the monks at the monastery? When they began to look for Jesus among them, when they began to believe in their own value and worth, and divinity, they were transformed. Look for Jesus among us. Look for Jesus in yourselves. God has already begun the transforming work among us. We are Easter people.
The evidence for resurrection is astounding. Where there is death and destruction, where it seems there cannot possibly be new life, new life surprises us. It usually does not come as we expect. Sometimes God does need to knock us upside the head so that we open our eyes to the new life that erupts around us. And always we need to die, we need to die to greed, to selfishness, to control, in order to make room for the absolutely new thing that God has in store for us.
Last Sonshine Saturday we read a story called Hope for the Flowers. It’s about two caterpillars who wish to find the new life that they feel coursing through their bodies, but can’t see. They can’t see it because it takes dying first. But once one of them weaves her cocoon and becomes a beautiful butterfly, her friend also is able to let go of the struggle of getting ahead, getting to the top, getting more, and dying to all that to become the beautiful butterfly he was created to be. This morning, just to remind ourselves of that, we have butterfly kites to take home.
The intensity of Holy Week helps us to shed our skin, to die to getting ahead, getting to the top, getting more. We are able to turn around, set ourselves for resurrection, and for the reality of the death that must precede new life. This is the journey on which we accompany Jesus, and Jesus accompanies us.
Jesus has done the transforming work with his love, on the cross, and in the resurrection. We need to live as Easter people. We need to see each other with transformed eyes. We need to look at one another with the reality that God has already done the work, and each of us is a new creation. A creation that contains the amazing grace that makes each one of us of value and worth, the messiah is one of us; Jesus is one of us, maybe even all of us. Treat each other with extraordinary respect because we are filled with God’s extraordinary love. Treat yourself with extraordinary respect because we are filled with God’s extra extraordinary love.
Something wonderful has happened. God has graciously interrupted our world. God has come into our lives, to call us back into relationship. God has made it possible for us to be transformed, to live in freedom, to be liberated from sin and death. God has made new what once was dead.
To walk in newness of life is all full of verb, of action, of creativity; to create life, to become more than just me, or just you, but to become a body. This is where grace happens. The pain of loss is surpassed by the bliss of love. The suffering of spirit or body is surpassed by the happiness found in relationship; the relationship God calls us into, and the relationship of family, friends, and community. The alienation and isolation of different-ness, is surpassed by the joyfulness of being marvelously made in God’s image.
New life in Christ is the something wonderful that Easter is all about.
Alleluia. The Lord is risen indeed:
Come let us adore him. Alleluia.
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