Reflection for Easter Sunday
April 5th 2015
John 20:1-18 or Mark 16:1-8
By Roland Legge
Let’s imagine what it must have been like for the disciples on that first Easter morning. It was bad enough they had lost a good friend. But they had lost much more than that. The hope that Jesus gave them for a better world was dead now too. I expect you would be feeling down, depressed, angry and sad in their situation.
When have you felt despair? Remember the times in you life when you felt little hope. Sometimes we need something dramatic to happen to wake us up into seeing that God has something better planned for us. This is what happened for Jesus followers on Easter Sunday long ago.
God broke through this hopelessness and despair through the disciple’s encounters with the risen Jesus. Resurrection came real when the disciples new for sure in their hearts that what Jesus had stood up for, was not dead. It was resurrection when they could feel the spirit of Jesus alive in their hearts.
No one will ever know exactly what happened, other than something amazing and awesome took place. Jesus disciples were blessed with experiencing the presence in such a powerful way they could no longer stay in their depression. They could no longer over look the truth that God had great plans for them. These were Holy plans to keep on with the journey of faith that Jesus came to begin.
This was truly an amazing event. But I think we need to be clear that this was not resuscitation, but a resurrection. What is the difference? A good example of resuscitation would be the story of Lazarus being raised from the dead. But Jesus story is different. Remember how the disciples at first did not recognize Jesus when they met because he was changed. It took Mary to hear his voice before she new who he was. This was a spiritual body that while real looking to the disciples was not a mortal body. Jesus could walk through doors. One moment he would be there the next he wouldn’t.
I believe in the resurrection of Jesus. Why? I do because I have experienced resurrection many times. For me resurrection happens when a person or community finds new life despite the difficult struggles they are facing. I found new life after a very difficult first marriage. I found new life when I decided to give up a career in Accounting which led me to discovering that I had a call to ministry. I experience resurrection when I overcome a physical, emotional or spiritual issue with the aid of tools like the Enneagram. I feel resurrection when I discover I am able to do something like Ballroom dancing that I once didn’t think I was capable of doing.
Also, I hear countless stories of resurrection when ever I visit and provide pastoral care. We all have our times in life when it feels very bleak. Resurrection takes place when we are able to move on in hope despite the struggles we are facing. I can remember a family I worked with that faced such adversity. First the Mom of the family fought cancer and died. She left her loving husband, two children and mother-in-law. Then the Mom of the daughter who had died also succumbed to cancer not many years later. She had been caring for the children while their Mom was sick and then later supported her son by helping to raise the young children. You would think for the father and his children there wouldn’t be any hope left. Yet this family held strongly together. There was an amazing love between them that propelled them to new life, resurrection.
Resurrection comes alive in our natural divine nature to shine no matter what the world throws at us. One of my favorite authors is Anne Lamott who through her books tells of all the ups and downs of her life. She tells of how God keeps breaking through into our life leading her from resurrection to resurrection. I want to leave you with a short quote from her in her book “Traveling Mercies”. I will set the scene. She is going to be a single mother. She tells this to her congregation when she is seven months pregnant. I sense this must have taken some courage for her to announce this at her church, St. Andrews in Oakland California. One can never know how others will react. But she was blessed:
When I announced during worship, that I was pregnant, people cheered. All these old people, raised in Bible-thumping homes in the Deep South, clapped. Even the women whose grown-up boys had been doing time in the jails or prisons rejoiced for me. And then almost immediately they set about providing for us. They brought clothes, they brought me casseroles to keep in the freezer, they brought me assurance that this baby was going to be a part of the family. And they began slipping me money.
Traveling Mercies: Some Thoughts on Faith by Anne Lamott Anchor Books 1999 Toronto, New York page 101
This was resurrection for Anne because she now new for sure that she and her son Sam could count on their St. Andrews family to journey through all the ups and downs of life with them.
I invite you to begin naming your resurrection experiences in life. I invite you to reflect on what gives you hope. I ask you to make everyday a celebration of Easter because God is always working God’s love in our lives and world.