Easter Day ~ With God There Are No Endings

April 16 2017

READINGS: Jeremiah 31: 1-6 ~ Acts 10: 34-43 ~ Matthew 27: 11-54

With God there are no endings – just endless new beginnings.

These are the words on my favourite funeral bulletin cover.
Throughout the Lenten season we have been encouraged to reframe the way we look at things. Instead of thinking about our dark times as tombs that encourage us to jump on the ship of despair to think of them as wombs filled with fresh possibilities.

That’s what happens to the women on that first Easter Day. Living this side of Easter, we already know they’re going to find the tomb empty –that Jesus is risen and on the move. But they don’t know that. All they know is that on Friday they saw Jesus crucified, dead and buried. And then they had to bide their time until the Sabbath was over so that they could at least come and anoint his body. At this point, its still the tragic end of an amazing adventure.

And then comes the great earthquake that turns their world upside down. A angel of the Lord descends. Not some cute, cuddly cherub but a terrifying being, his appearance like lightening as he roles back the stone and sits on it.

Don’t be afraid, he says. It’s a wonder the women don’t faint along with guards. This is not what they expected. You’re looking for Jesus who was crucified, says the angel. He’s not here. He is risen. Come, see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples. He’s going ahead of you to Galilee.

And with that, the tomb becomes a womb that gives birth to excitement and energy and new life.

The women are filled with a mix of fear and great joy. The story isn’t finished. That’s good news. But they’re in unchartered territory from here on in. That’s terrifying. What a roller coaster of emotion for those women. And then, as they rush back to tell the others, Jesus appears! And tells them not to be afraid but to go and tell the others to meet him in Galilee, the place where it all began.

And today, 2000 years later, the story still isn’t finished. Every Easter we gather to remember that neither the cross nor the tomb could contain Jesus the Christ; that resurrection is an ongoing part of our story.

In God there are no endings – just new beginnings. Like the women on Easter morning, we are invited to come and see the place where he lay. Then its time to go and catch up with Jesus. He’s down the road waiting for us to walk with him through the 21st century.

As Jesus’ church continues to unfold, evolve, adapt, re-form, reboot, … We know that some might want to stay at the tomb of the way things were and others will simply turn away. But the ones who want to follow Jesus on this next part of the adventure will start to move forward, seeking to be part of the church of our risen Lord in 2017.

We are people of the resurrection. We have good news to tell. So, let’s not be afraid. Let’s put our trust in God and follow our Lord. And maybe – just maybe – try to embrace God’s future for the church in this multicultural, multi-faith, ever-changing world. Maybe we can even learn from our past mistakes and help to right some wrongs along the way.

Jack, the dog, loves to walk down main street at least once a day. A sign in one of the shop windows caught my attention. It said, Believe there is good in the world. The next day I noticed that some of the letters were in a different colour – highlighting Be the Good. On the third day we walked into the store and bought the sign.

Ours is God of endless new beginnings who calls us to embrace the womb of fresh possibilities. As people of the resurrection, we set aside our fear to follow our Lord – not just to believe there is good in the world but to be the good in the world.

In 1993, June Boyce Tillman wrote the lyrics to a beautiful song for our journey that goes to the well- known tune of Danny Boy. This is our reflection song on this Easter Day.

We shall go out with hope of resurrection,
We shall go out, from strength to strength go on,
We shall go out and tell our stories boldly,
Tales of a love that will not let us go.
We’ll sing our songs of wrongs that can be righted,
We dream our dreams of hurts that can be healed,
We’ll weave a cloth of all the world united,
within the vison of new life – in Christ.

We’ll give a voice to those who have not spoken
We’ll fin the words for those whose lips are sealed,
We’ll make the tunes for those who sing no longer,
Expressive love alive in every heart.
We’ll share our joy with those who are still weeping,
Raise hymns of strength for hearts that break in grief,
We’ll leap and dance the resurrection story,
including all in circles of – our love.

Pat Martin +