Scripture: John 20:1-18, Matthew 28:1-10
Let us pray:
Breathe on us, Breath of God, that we may live; may the words of my mouth and the meditations of my heart be acceptable to you, O Lord our Rock and our Redeemer. Amen.
Martin Copenhaver wrote, “It can seem quite odd that people would flock to worship on Easter, of all days, a day on which we proclaim the very things that may be hardest to believe. However, it is clear from those who knew Jesus, from the apostles of the early church and from the authors of the Scriptures, that Easter is not the dramatic conclusion to the story for those who are able to follow it that far. Rather, Easter is the beginning.”
Easter is the beginning. Not the beginning in a stable with angels singing to shepherds in the night sky, which is a beginning of sorts, but more, a beginning for those entering into what is a cosmic, eternal song of Life in and with Jesus, the World Maker, who was in the beginning with God, who was God, who came into the world and the world knew him not. Easter is the beginning of faith. Thus, on this Easter morning, it is appropriate to ask:
Do you know him? Can any of us really know him? Do we recognize Jesus – the Resurrected One – God among us?
Make no mistake: on one hand throughout history Easter has been the occasion of the greatest doubt. Yet it has also been a source of the most profound faith. On one hand, it is true that realities about which we have no doubts and that are easily comprehensible are easier for us to grasp and accept. On the other hand, such realities may not be big enough to reveal God to us. So where does that leave us?
With a faith in something we cannot fully know and understand; a place along a journey of faith where we are almost provoked into doubting the truth of it all because of the audacity of claiming that someone could rise from the dead. But that is exactly what the women were asked to tell. Jesus told Mary, or the Marys depending on your source, to, “…go to my brothers and say to them, ‘I am ascending to my Father and your Father, to my God and your God.’” Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, ‘I have seen the Lord.’”
Is it true? What these first sermon-speakers said? Peter and the disciple whom Jesus loved ran to find out; we can only guess at the other disciples’ reactions. Would they have been the same as ours, whatever that may be? Reflect upon yourself for a moment:
Would you run in disbelief to see for yourself? Would you be utterly shocked and stay put, stunned into immobility, waiting for others to report back to you whether it was true? Or would you take the women at their word and begin rejoicing right away, grasping immediately the truth of the message of the Resurrected One – that he IS the Way, the Truth and the Life?
I would like to think two thousand years later we would still be struck with the same awesome reactions – whatever they may be – and the import of this reality, this Resurrected One, might hit us with the same immediacy as it hit the women and the other disciples. But I am suspicious that might be a bit too difficult for us. We’ve had years of hearing the same story over and over each springtime – springtime when it isn’t too hard to believe that life’s cycle does indeed go on after a long winter of sleep, of seeds resting in the earth, of reflective times with friends and family, and enough of a winter wonderland to last at least a little while.
How do we take this story we’ve heard before and turn it into a life-changing message of Love come to earth, Love so deep and self-sacrificing that it chose to die for the sake of all, rising again to bring us all up out of our own dying moments into new life? How do we appropriate such an audacious claim?
Perhaps one way might be to first deeply internalize the message behind the purpose of John’s presentation of the cosmic Christ; the meanings behind his actions as recorded by early pioneers of the Christian faith. Second, by re-examining the heart of Christianity and its journey up to this point in history and perhaps begin to re-frame it as an ever-living, ever-moving, ever-changing faith. Third, contextualizing God’s grace extended to us in this time and place, this moment in the history of our common life together – where, I might add, we find ourselves at a major crossroads of the spiritual journey of several faiths simultaneously along side changes that are happening to global civilization as a whole.
Many paths are converging – even as we speak of what we know from our stream of faithful witness we are joining many other tributaries that make up a great river of Spirit-infused life flowing across this land and every land upon the earth. The time is now to reach deeply – even drink deeply of the Well of the Water of Life, so that within you, within me, within anyone we meet on this journey, we might gaze deeply into the face of Christ, know him, and offer him the earthly divine hospitality of our lives and our very beings – and receive him into our hearts and souls.
Let us pray: “In the name of the Holy Formless One, In the name of the Son, who took Form, In the name of the Spirit between these Two, All things are made one. God for us, we call you Father, God alongside us, we call You Jesus, God within us, we call You Holy Spirit. But these are only names. You are the Eternal Mystery that enables and holds and enlivens all things – even us and even me. Every name falls short of Your Goodness and Your greatness. We can only see who You are in what is. In the beginning, now, and always. Amen.”
 Copenhaver, Martin B. Feasting on the Word—Year A David L. Bartlett and Barbara Brown Taylor, General Editors. Copyright © 2010 Westminster John Knox Press; Louisville, Kentucky; All rights reserved. Used by permission. Accordance edition hyper-texted and formatted by OakTree Software, Inc. Version 2.0
 Rohr, Fr. Richard. The Divine Dance; The Trinity and Your Transformation. Whitaker House, 2016.
Questions for Reflection
When Mary Magdalene first saw the resurrected Jesus, she did not recognize him, even though she knew the tomb was empty. Have you ever experienced the presence of the risen Christ, even when you were not expecting him? Are there times you have been in the presence of the risen Christ but have not recognized him? How would you know?
Household Prayer: Morning
Jesus, victorious Lord, I exult in your resurrection. As I sing “alleluia” with my voice, let my life embody “alleluia” as a testimony to your love and a witness to your eternal life. Amen.
Household Prayer: Evening
Lord, the days of sadness are over, for you have risen from the dead. As you conquered the grave, free your servant from fear of harm or death that I may rest in peace this night and in the morning rise to sing “alleluia.” Amen.