Signpost for Sunday 26 March 2016, Easter Sunday: Exod 14:10-end;15:20-21; Rom 6:3-11; Luke 24:1-12.
Spring is a long way away for those of us in the southern hemisphere, but Easter means “Spring”! What can we find in our autumn days that connects our lives with the events of Easter?
I remember one unusually dry Lenten period in Northland, New Zealand. The farmers had been unhappy for months. Our lawn had long-standing cracks in it. One was almost five centimeters across. We needed rain to heal the ground and make the grass grow. At least we had kikuyu grass; with kikuyu grass the dry north would look like Canterbury or Hawkes Bay in a typical January.
I have been told that rain is often welcome at a tangi (Maori funeral ceremony), the idea being that nature mourns with us. So that Lent we earnestly wished for rain for Good Friday, both symbolically and practically. Even better would be rain for the whole of Holy Week; then there would be signs of new growth for Easter Day – a marvelous symbol indeed. It did in fact rain that Holy Week!
The effects of rain were seen more and more through the whole of the Easter season and into the Ordinary Sundays that follow Pentecost, as more growth showed up. In the same way, it was over the coming days, starting at least symbolically at Pentecost, that the early Church showed evidence of what it claimed as its good news, “He is risen!”
We don’t look back at Easter and remember something that merely happened in the past. Easter is when we remember that something true now began to be true at the first Easter. It is our experience that Christ is indeed risen. We celebrate it every Sunday. But we celebrate it even more at Easter.
EASTER MEDITATION (from With Love to the World)
The Israelites hankered after Egypt,
the women felt loss and terror at the tomb,
and the apostles thought the resurrection ‘nonsense’.
You come, O God,
as the starting God who cannot be predicted or controlled.
We want you to be a source of comfort and assurance,
a reliable and secure God,
a God we’re sure of and can understand.
You must, of course, do mighty deeds,
as long as they fit our patterns, prayer, ideas.
Instead, you rescue people from Egypt,
taking them from the security of slavery into wilderness.
You expect people to depend on you,
setting aside all this world says is security.
You are a powerful God who sets free the powerless.
No longer are we allowed to be victims.
No longer can we say: we are mere slaves
we are helpless sinners
our master has been destroyed
evil is more powerful than good
violence is the way to peace.
All these slogans are now banned.
You have overthrown evil,
shown the weakness of the powers of this world,
begun renewing the whole world’s fabric.
You call upon us to see the signs, and live.
Christ is risen.
He is risen indeed.
Let the celebration begin.
Let’s anticipate the Kingdom’s feast.
Let’s join God’s revolution,
so that acceptance, wholeness, peace
hope, trust and love
may decide the future of ourselves,
Evil is not the greatest power,
and violence need not overwhelm the Earth.
Christ is risen
so that our lives may be continually renewed,
change may be a gift,
and ‘nonsense’ be the truth.