And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. They had been saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?” When they looked up, they saw that the stone, which was very large, had already been rolled back.Mark 16:3-4
The resurrection of Christ is transformative. It changes everything! No longer will death have the final word, but life will always overcome that which seeks to kill body and spirit. Out of anger the Roman empire tried to silence Jesus. They used every earthly power to stop God’s message of love and justice, but they failed. They failed miserably. In Mark, God first reveals the Easter message to Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother
of James. To their amazement, Jesus was not in the tomb but had risen indeed. Hallelujah! Here we are 2,000 years later and Christ’s spirit is still alive, and continues to be revealed through any and all acts of solidarity and compassion, still changing the world as we know it. We are Easter people, living with the comfort that God’s love is always with us and will overcome any trial we may face.
This year has been filled with many disappointments. Funerals postponed. Birthdays missed. Anniversaries skipped. Jessica and I have yet to celebrate the birth of Jamie with close family and while I am licensed to Grace UCC, my ordination service has been postponed along with an installation service, where we as pastor and church come together and celebrate our new relationship in shared ministry. We have all experienced disappointments and yearnings from this past year and understand what it is like being cooped up in a tomb waiting to rise, which is why I selfishly prayed that Easter would be the moment we would be back to in-person worship. How wonderful would that have been?
When Church Council met to discuss re-opening (which they are doing on a regular basis), every single person expressed a yearning for community. They missed sharing their joys and burdens with people who care about them. They missed the potlucks, listening to special music, and playing games. They missed the building and stained glass windows that have a way of connecting us to God and those in the church both past and
present. The conversation was solemn, and difficult, but Spirit led. So it is important for us, as the body of Christ, to know that this conversation tore at the heartstrings of our Church Council, tasked with a mighty responsibility for this unprecedented moment in world history. The consensus was that we are so close, but since the vaccine is not accessible to everyone, we could not safely gather as church. The health and safety of
all who may walk through doors is too important to risk, especially since we are so close.
The irony of that first Easter is that Mary Magdalene and Mary the mother of James, went to the Tomb, expecting to see the body of Jesus, but it wasn’t there. The building was completely empty. The Easter story reminds us that Christ doesn’t live in the building, but in our hearts. We live forever on this side of the Easter story, with the comfort that God’s love is always with us and finds us wherever we are. While we are so close, I invite you to witness the resurrection of Christ that is all around you. In each flower that blooms. In each tree that begins to bud and sprout leaves. With each vaccination administered, know that soon and very soon we will all be together again.
O Love, in the many life, death, and resurrections of this journey,
Keep me rooted to your love, the source from which I draw life and hope.
Give me patience for the not yet. Give me joy in the now, this day and always.
Blessings for the Journey,