At Easter in churches all around the world, the resurrection will be the focus of their worship. What do we mean when we talk about resurrection? For many Christians, the celebration will be recalling the story a miraculous event from the past, along with the hope of a life beyond death. Others will view it as a myth, a story told primarily to inspire the faithful.
But, if this is all the resurrection is, it has little value for us beyond our lives as self-contained individuals. What if our celebration instead connected us with a living reality of what transformative resurrection life, lived out in community, looks like now? What if instead of focusing on a reward in heaven, we focused on the life that resurrection can bring us now?
This Easter, the writings of John and Luke remind us not only of the resurrection, but of the new life that awaits through resurrection.
Easter reminds us that God is present now, among us and that God is doing impossible things now, among us, and God is making morning miracles out of death’s darkness now, among us.
Easter Sunday symbolises a day when life refuses to be contained and bursts forth in strange and unexpected ways, a day where nothing is impossible, where hope cannot be extinguished and where love cannot be conquered.
The gospel we have been following since Advent, the Gospel of Luke, makes it clear that Christ’s message and purpose was to bring good news to the poor, and freedom to those who are oppressed. Jesus’ ministry was responsible for giving new life to many, and he exhorted his disciples to do the same. When we celebrate the life-giving, hopeful event that is the resurrection, do we see a vision of new possibilities, new realities, and new ways of renewing our commitment to share Christ’s inclusive liberating life with all people? Do we readily understand this commitment applies to many issues such as refugees, poverty, war, other cultures, religions, races, gender discrimination and even sexual orientation? Do we stop and wonder what specific place of oppression God may be calling us to reach out to with resurrection life? Do we understand that to undergo the resurrection experienced is to be transformed?
Every community, whether a secular or faith community, wrestles with forces that are both life-giving and life-destroying. Life-destroying forces within us that we must confront include the temptation to exclude those who are different from or who disagree with us, the temptation to form closed groups, and the temptation to keep the hope that Christ’s life offers to all to ourselves.
Life-destroying forces outside of us that we must confront include the temptation to ignore or disparage those in the dark places of our communities, to sit on the fence and remain silent when others are suffering or persecuted, and to close our doors to those who we think are not acceptable people.
When we embrace the true power of resurrection life, we embrace true transformation. We embrace a vision of new possibilities, new realities, and new ways of being for our churches, our communities, and our world. Instead of being limited by our fears and prejudices, we can open our minds to believe that unbelievable grace is possible. Instead of being limited by wanting to control things, we can release the hold fear has on our minds, and open our hearts to unbelievable hope. Instead of being limited by death and despair, we can open our lives to live and to love, in the light of Christ’s liberating life.
This Easter, let us pray for life and resurrection to come amongst us.
May we feel the power of Jesus’ life; may we be transformed by his story.
May we turn away from those things which would destroy or devalue life.
May resurrection happen again in us today, tomorrow, and the next day.
May our feet, like the disciples, continue to run faster than they have ever moved, as we reach out to others with the good news, saying like Mary did ‘I have seen the Lord!’ For he is among us, doing impossible things, and bringing life out of death’s darkness.