It is Sunday! It is Easter Sunday! As the shadows cast by the images on the cross at Good Friday recedes it reveal something truly amazing! New life and new hope is the shout of the day. Already we are hearing the news of the flattening of the curve as the plague of Covid-19 collides with the force of the communal power of the human spirit. Already much discussions are occurring about the reopening of our economy. Already much like in the days of Jesus, leaders are looking to return to previous lifestyles. Yet, there is a caution in the wind that boldly declares life will never be the same.
Mathew in his gospel narrative seems to capture a bold spirit of hope and renewal. Life will never be the same! The empty tomb has rocked the world of the powerful to its very core. This amazing truth is discovered not by those sitting in rooms of fear but those journeying to Jesus. This life changing truth did not come via the mouths of male oriented societal leaders, but voiceless women of courage. My friends, only those with overcoming faith, can discover the powerful presence of Jesus.
Jesus encounters the resurrection witnesses while they were on their way. “Suddenly Jesus met them and said, "Greetings!" And they came to him, took hold of his feet, and worshiped him.” (Mathew 28:9.) There is much to be discovered while journeying through life after the resurrection. If Good Friday locked us into a drama which revealed the sinful divisive side of humanity, Easter now reveals something remarkably different. It reveals we can discover amazing things when we are willing to journey together. “Then Peter began to speak to them: "I truly understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him. (Acts 10:34&35)
Journeying together after Resurrection, the disciples of Jesus discovered the fulfillment of the prophetic words of Jesus “I am the way the truth and the life” (John 14:6). Jesus shapes his disciples while on their way to Galilee. The commonality of faith overpowers the demons of divisiveness. That’s what makes the church such a powerful entity. Along the way to Jesus, hope overcame fear. The fear of death no longer had a grip on their hearts for now their minds were set on Jesus. It is the journey not the destination that shapes us.
My friends in Christ, Jesus’ love empowers our willingness to journey with each other in spite our differences. The bonds of love hold us together and we truly become our brother’s and sister’s keeper. If Good Friday and the Covid-19 virus revealed all that is wrong with our world then Easter proclaims God’s redeeming love. God has not lost hope in His world. God has not given up on us!
One can never ignore or wish away Good Friday, nor can we fail to grieve for the many souls that were lost and still being lost due the Covid-19 virus. At Easter we encounter Jesus with the scars and wounds of His crucifixion. These are not like tattoos we choose to wear but living proof of the depth of God’s love for us. “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross, so that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.” (1 Peter 2:24) That’s the way God reveals His love for His whole world. Resurrection points us forward to a new way of living and a new way of loving. We are all in this together!
Easter reveals that which is honorable and worthy in us. Easter reveals that we can live and love in new and exciting ways. We witness who were cowering in fear become bold gospel carriers. Resurrection power provides renewal and hope. Overcoming faith defeats despair, grief restoring hope. It replaces anger and the desire for revenge with love and forgiveness. It seems as Jesus was not the only one being resurrected for now his followers were also being bought out of their tombs into the light of a new day. That’s resurrection power!
Already there is much to celebrate as Covid-19 revealed so much good in us that we previously ignored. We can live like families after all! We can work together as a diocese and a faith community after all! We can embrace technology within our church both in terms of worship and financial support after all! We can find leadership in our Bishops and priests after all! I wish to acknowledge the tremendous leadership of Bishop Chip Stokes that held our diocese together in bold and innovative ways, It really augers well for us. We can value our health care providers after all! We can see the need to provide health care to the vulnerable after all! The poor and the disposed can be loved into becoming essential partners and no longer worthless loafers after all! We are no longer prisoners in cloistered buildings as we are now willing to journey to the Galilees in our communities seeking to bring the Good News to the broken and the lost after all! O yes, the genie is now out of the bottle, Jesus’ spirit is now free to roam the earth
My friends Easter invites us to journey with Jesus. It is the journey that shapes us not the destination! Let us journey together with Jesus as our guide and savior. Let us journey together as if our very lives depend on it for in many ways it really does! Let us discover the presence of Jesus in each other. He is Risen! He is risen! He is risen in our hearts, minds and souls not to rebuild that which was broken down but restore God’s loving act of creation. A new world is being born and by our hands and feet we become builders of God’s new creation! He is risen! He is risen!