Worship Reflection Sunday, April 17, 2022
Easter “An Expansive Life”
The women awoke, never having left Jesus and prepared to go and anoint his body. They must have wanted to be doing anything else, but instead they entered into the process of grief, repeating the cycle that had come before, expecting the steady rhythms of the rituals to help them forge ahead. Instead what they find surprises them and upon hearing the news from the angel they return home to tell the others. Nothing will ever be the same, and yet for us, who have heard the familiar tale and like the disciples aren’t quite sure what to make of it, or like peter need to go see the clothes lying in the empty tomb, we simply know that we are amazed.
This is our first Easter since 2019 we’ve been able to celebrate in one another’s physical presence, but it isn’t the first we’ve celebrated together since the beginning of the pandemic. We have had 2 Easter’s together and today is our 3rd. So much has changed since the beginning of the pandemic in ways we couldn’t have anticipated. We have changed, our understanding of the world has changed. Time continues to march on and We can’t go back to before.
So, where do we go from here? What is the news we receive today, which is a day of new beginnings? Remember the women, going thru the passages of grief? The women have to lay down their spices and their expectations for what came next… and so do we.
For me this process begins by laying down our expectations for what we expect to find or what we think we know from before. Nothing is the same, whether we want it to be or not, and part of the gift of Easter is the reminder that life continues and time moves us forward into the unknown. Easter is also a teacher for us when radical shifts happen, for what can be more radical than a resurrection?
What lies before us is unknown and we will not find it by clinging to some false hope that we just need to get back to the way things were, or our minister needs to be like the minister before, or our classes do, or anything else for that matter. Nothing is the same. We are not the same. The world, our world, has been transformed.
So, if, as people of faith, we turn to our story we can remember and witness something that we can hold onto, even when everything we’ve known is changed. The hope that Easter brings us is what leads us, the hope that although nothing is the same love remains. When we remember that love remains, that it can conquer and transform the world, we can find a way forward.
So, while I may not be able to lead you or guide you, the church will remain. While things will never be the same in our world after having gone through this pandemic, the transformative love that the Holy One brings into the world is still present and available. That love will still be here, and my hope and prayer is that it will lead you in all that you do, from confronting struggles to celebrating joys. The Easter message reminds us that even in the hardest of times, love remains steadfast as the choice for transformation.
So, friends, may we hold onto love, in all that we do, knowing that love is the way forward and in love will not simply survive, but we will experience the expansive nature of the world, of each other and ourselves, and our God. May it be so, amen.