Acts 10: 23-4a, 37-43 – Colossians 3: 1-4 – John 20: 1-9
The celebration of Easter this year, such as it is,, is unlike any other that we may known. It certainly is unusual. There is no gathering at church on Easter morning. Family gatherings and celebrations will be limited, at best. Many of the traditions and customs that are familiarly associated with Easter have to be curtailed or set aside entirely. In many ways, where we are today, and what restrictions affect us are disappointing and, I suspect, distressing.
But, as I have been reflecting on this sad reality over these recent weeks, I have come to a conclusion that what we are all going through may actually give us a better appreciation of what the Feast of Easter celebrates. Today recalls the Resurrection of Jesus Christ. Today celebrates the restoration to life to Jesus Christ. It is the victory by Jesus Christ over the death he suffered by execution upon the cross.
The many limitations we are now experiencing in mobility, in proximity to others, and even the simple contact we have with one another that we have so often just taken for granted, are certainly inconvenient in many respect and are, to be honest, rather irritating. Yet they can be for us a very stark reminder of the injustice of the betrayal and execution of Jesus Christ. He was a messenger of peace. He was the ultimate messenger of God’s love for all of humanity. Yet he was treated as a common criminal. However unfair or difficult our present circumstances may be, they pale in comparison to what Jesus was subjected.
But his death on the cross was not the end of his mission. It actually marked a new beginning. It was his defeat of evil and sin represented by death. It opened the door to his overcoming of death in his Resurrection to life which we recall today. All of this is can be a sign to us that in the darkest challenges we now face, our faith declares to us that there is resurrection, there is restoration, there is a return to life. In our daily lives we look now for normalcy, for what we have known before, to be return to our lives as they had been. It is the hope engendered by our faith, the hope that is recalled in the celebration of the Resurrection, that sustain us now as we look forward to future days.
When the disciples of Jesus scattered at the time when he was condemned, or when the women and others sorrowfully left his body in the tomb, it appeared to them that all they had known, all that they had hoped for was lost, was over and done. Yet on that first Easter morning, as the news spread among his followers that his body was not in the tomb, that they were told that he had risen from the dead, slowly the awareness grew in them of the transformation in life, in what it meant to be alive, was now possible was now accomplished.
Confronted as we are with the challenges of these days, our faith allows us to look forward to a restoration in our lives. Our faith is based on the Resurrection. These moments have taught and continue to teach us a great deal about ourselves, but they also teach us about the possibilities, in the many examples we see, of the goodness we possess. It is this goodness experienced now, a goodness based on the hope of our Faith, that is a true restoration of the gift of life that we have received. May this year’s celebration of the Resurrection of the Lord on this Easter Sunday be a true revelation of what we are to be as creatures of a good and gracious God.