That Easter Day With Joy Was Bright
Easter Day, Year C, Gethsemane
All too often, life breaks us. Shattered into a million pieces by our fears, our losses, our suffering, our grief. We wander in the desert of our own creation, lost in the midst of our own lives. If our eyes our open we can see that we do not walk alone in our brokenness, we walk with other broken people, in a broken world. But, what are we walking towards?
If we are to hear the Gospel today, we hear of a woman who walked towards a tomb that she expected to be full. Caught in the pain of a witnessed crucifixion and a community rent by loss, betrayal and lies...she went.
I can only imagine, that she felt broken. I can only imagine, that she did not know how she would go on, or what would come next. I can only imagine that one foot in front of the other was all that she had left that day.
Her only focus, on what she would find. Death.
That was the journey she thought she was on.
But, as we find again and again in scripture, what we thought was true is overturned again and again by the power of God’s transforming love.
We thought the sea would swallow us up. We thought we might starve in that desert place. We thought that the exile would never end. We thought that our voices would be lost. We thought that our friend was gone and that the powers of the world, those death dealing powers, would win. We thought that we were so broken, that like the proverbial humpty dumpty we could never be put back together again.
But, in today’s grace, in today’s testimony...
We thought wrong.
And at the tomb, in the midst of our brokenness, we see the messengers of God. We see a stone rolled away, we see liberation and a new day.
We see the body broken made whole.
We see a scattered community brought together.
We see, a creation that no human gardener could have made, but only the creator could have brought to fruition.
We see ourselves.
With all that we have and all that we are, with all of our brokenness and bruised bodies, without any lies or duplicities.
We see ourselves loved by a God from whom no secrets are hid--a God who has created us and made us whole--a God who takes the broken and binds the pieces into a new creation.
In the fourth century Hilary of Poitiers wrote "God will repair what has been shattered, but not by mending it with something else. Rather, out of the old and very same material of its origin, God will impart to it an appearance of beauty pleasing to Himself."
You are pleasing to God. You, just as you are, in the light of the resurrection are beautiful.
And, as a resurrection people, I call us to look around. See the broken people next to you, recognize the broken relationship and broken places. And, just for a moment try, try to see in this resurrection light...
The beauty and life that God sees and brings forth.
New life, new hope. Each day a new day. And, so springs forth the sun and every day becomes a new chance for peace, a new chance for casting aside those things that cobble us. A new chance to respond to the question taken from the Mary Oliver poem “The Summers Day”, the question with which we began our Lenten journey...
What will you do with your one wild and precious life?
If that which was old and broken has been left behind, if each of us is new today? What will we do with the life we have been given?
One of the glories of welcoming a new baby into families and communities is the imagining that happens--the pondering of the great possibilities that lie ahead for the little one we cradle in our hearts and in our hands. How will they transform the world? What will they love? What will drive their passions? Who will they become?
So many hopes and dreams for this new and untainted life.
And when we welcome babies into our faith community in the sacrament of baptism we speak these hopes and dreams aloud--that they may continue in the apostles teaching, grow in love and faith knowing the love of the community in which they break bread, that they may resist evil, that they may know that this community of faith will always be a place to which they can return, that they may bring life and wonderment to the world in the proclamation of God’s love, that they may see Christ in everyone they meet and serve them accordingly, that they will love others and honor the dignity of everyone they meet, that they will work for justice and peace for everyone. These are amazing hopes and dreams for this small yet big and vast life that is cradled before us.
But, these baptismal promises are not reserved for infants, people of all ages may choose to participate in the sacrament of baptism. And, today we will renew these baptismal promises...promises that require renewal again and again and again, as we are broken and resurrected each and every day. We mark this new life with particular fervor, on this the feast of feasts, this our celebration of the paschal mystery and the return of all that we had thought lost--but, this day is not unique, because we are gifted the opportunity for new life, each and every day. Today is a day of being as full of hope and promise as those newly baptized. As full of hope and promise as those newly born. As full of hope and promise as that first resurrection morning.
Are we able to accept that gift of hopes and promises? That gift of new life? Can we see ourselves holding as much potential and promise as we see in babies? Can we see those around us with new eyes and see them as people who have the power and potential to transform the world? Can we open ourselves to these hopes, can we see that in new life we have a fresh start, a renewed opportunity to be the one, once broken, made new and gifted with the ability to transform the world?
In this resurrection, in our resurrection, can we hold ourselves and each other with as much love as we hold the infants in our communities? Can we hope and dream for each other and for ourselves just as we hope and dream for those littles who have just begun new life?
When we work towards the “yes” of possibility, the “yes” of love, the “yes” of peace and the “yes” of justice we are being a resurrection people. When we can see ourselves and each other with eyes that can see the perfection of creation made manifest, we are being a resurrection people. When we show up for life when everyone else tells us there is only death, we are a resurrection people. When we work to transform our communities into places of equality for all, we are a resurrection people. To live when the world says die, to rejoice when the world says weep, to aim for change when change seems impossible...this is resurrection and this is our calling made clear this day.
We are to be a resurrection people. To proclaim the power of love, to proclaim the potential for life. To stand up to those things that bring death into the world and to say “you have already lost” and love will win. This is our mission--a mission born anew each and every day as we find life where we had thought only to find death.
She went to the tomb looking for the dead...and found life instead. She went broken, and found healing, she went as one lost and in going she found herself anew. What will you find today?