Easter Sunday Year B 2021
Almighty God, who through your only-begotten Son Jesus Christ overcame death and opened to us the gate of everlasting life: Grant that we, who celebrate with joy the day of the Lord’s resurrection, may be raised from the death of sin by your life-giving Spirit; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.
ALLELUIA CHRIST IS RISEN!
Happy Easter my friends!
It is so good to be WITH YOU here in this space today.
To be together
It has been a long Lent and here in this time, gathered together, we gather again …transformed. It’s a bit of a coming home.
I feel as though last year at this time we felt much like the disciples lost and confused on Easter, not knowing what was coming and we were so challenged in the past year.
We were together and yet separate
and now, little by little we are able to experience the joy of regathering,
of even the potential of Hugs.
We are re-emerging transformed.
The time isolated gave us a time to reflect, to be anxious, to evaluate what we took for granted and what we did not need.
Like the recent ship in the Suez Canal, the Ever Given, everything came to a standstill last year…. Things just had to wait.
And in that waiting,
We have struggled with the reality of racial injustice and violence.
We have also appreciated heroes who have carried on in the daily work to be done.
We have prayed and prayed and prayed and prayed some more.
We have experienced losses indescribable from death of friends and family
We have experienced hopes and dreams deferred.
People are emerging with new bodies (some lost a few pounds- some gained a few),
We emerge with new vision/goals,
And some have emerged with even new children!
We return to the familiar, to church gatherings, to Easter…transformed.
On this Easter morning we might understand Mary, Simon Peter and John a bit better.
After their three days of hiding, of emotional exhaustion, angst and fear, they re-emerge.
They return to the familiar in their processing of the events.
Mary Magdalene goes about the ritual of caring for a loved one and tending to the ritual care of a beloved’s body.
Peter and John and the disciples are in their routines gathered in community.
And in the midst of the familiar the divine appears.
The divine, appearing and reminding them that God is there in their midst.
Meeting them in the familiar, but like them- also transformed.
God has not abandoned them.
God is with them.
Jesus, son of God, born of Mary, teacher, healer, human and divine is there WITH them.
Speaking words of comfort, of consolation.
“Mary,” Jesus says.
Calling her by her name.
Mary knowing Jesus’ voice
Mary replies letting her grief, her joy, her relief and emotions spill within that title.
Mary, willing to still learn, receive, yearning to understand.
The simplest of exchanges and yet most profound of relationships.
Longing and connection.
And the Easter message is that God is right here saying
I am here. Here WITH you.
Here WITH us.
NOTHING can Separate us from the outstretched love of God.
This is the story of all of scripture, God does not abandon god’s people. And with each change and chance of this life, new beginnings occur.
Think of Noah and the ark, another monstrous boat. This boat giving shelter to Noah and his family while the storm outside raged. And when that dove returned with the olive branch, the journey in the ark was over and new life began. The land, their lives, all transformed. A new chapter of life beginning.
If we are honest, we too have been transformed.
Like the disciples on this morning,
Like Mary we are emerging and invited to continue to be in relationship.
Jesus’ last supper with his disciples, betrayal, death on a cross and the empty tomb were not something the disciples could forget, sweep under the carpet and just continue on as before.
Jesus, there with them, transforms weeping to joy.
Jesus not held by the earthly powers, the suffering, the pain.
Jesus transformed with the loving, lifegiving, liberating love of God.
And Jesus calls the disciples to be transformed by the same love.
Jesus reminds them they cannot, nor should they, forget.
Just as we too felt the isolation, the sacrifices, the angst this past year, we cannot forget what we learned in that space.
The things our eyes saw for the first time, the desire we found to make changes.
God shows us on this Easter morning that while power creates suffering,
Love absorbs suffering and transforms it.
Through Jesus, through Jesus’ outstretched arms on the cross, through the empty tomb unable to hold God, Jesus’ suffering is absorbed and transformed.
New life is possible.
New Beginnings through a God who meets us in the familiar and opens our eyes to what can be.
God on this Easter morning meets us in our isolation, our anxiety, our distracted lives and transforms us with arms of love, embracing us, hugging us and transforming our wildest dreams so that we too can be like Mary and go running with joy out into the world.
Sharing the good news.
Life does not end in death, God gives us hope beyond death. A new day, each day.
God, right here, through Jesus, transforms our isolation to community, our anxiety into joy.
We are reminded that even in the grave we sing Alleluia, Alleluia.
As we re-emerge this Easter Season, Let that loving, lifegiving liberating love shape our life and all that we do.