Easter – April 24, 2011
By Roland Legge
Based on Matthew 28:1–10
Easter is probably one of the most earth shattering experiences humankind has experienced. Whether we believe the resurrection to be metaphor or actual fact, millions of people’s lives have been changed. No one can deny this reality if they have eyes to see and ears to hear.
Easter becomes real, when we the people of God, live out God’s commandment to love self, neighbour and God. Every act coming out of love, hope, a hunger for peace, and a hunger for justice are like mini resurrections in themselves. Each act no matter how small or big says no to our death focussed culture and yes to life abundant.
We don’t know a lot about what happened at Jesus resurrection. No one saw it. But we know the tomb was empty and Mary Magdalene found new life and hope after experiencing Jesus. It touched her so deeply that she had the courage to tell the male disciples that he indeed had risen. Neither do we know a lot about Mary Magdalene.
What we do know that Mary was likely the leader of a group of women who followed Jesus. Some believed that Mary was a prostitute even though there is no evidence of that in the Bible. It seems to some theologians Mary was among a group of independent women who provided resources for Jesus ministry. These were women who chose to share their financial wealth and property with Jesus and his movement. What is important is that Mary and these other women were living out a diaconal ministry of service as equals with the male disciples.
But the miracle is that upon Jesus death and resurrection on the cross these women became the prime movers of this new Jesus movement which finally claimed the ministry they had been called to after Jesus death and resurrection. They were more than followers of Jesus. They had taken on this ministry themselves. They finally understood what Jesus had been telling them that they have all they need and more to live out their calling from God.
To be a resurrection people is not easy. Jesus and his followers know this only too well. In the resurrection the spiral of life radiates out love as shown to us by Jesus. When the love of Christ is let loose there is nothing that can stop it. However, this life affirming way of living challenges and conflicts with our culture which led to Jesus death by the Empire of his day.
It is sad to think how much time and effort goes in trying to snuff out God’s vision for the abundant life by the powerful in our world. Some people have so much to lose in wealth and power. They are too scared to change their way of life and to risk losing control of their kingdom. It is easy for them and for us to justify to God our comforts of life. Of course, we say, we deserve them. But do we really deserve them more than anyone else?
We all have had resurrection experiences. What have been the times in your life when an experience, feeling, emotion, relationship, connection with another person suddenly helped you to discover hope, new ways of being, courage or whatever you needed to overcome an obstacle you were facing in life. Diana Butler Bass shares a story how her congregation, Epiphany in Washington D.C. and a homeless woman found power in the resurrection:
There is a woman in my church in Washington, D.C., who was homeless for 15 years. Several years ago, she came to Epiphany Church and was welcomed by the congregation’s ministry to homeless people. “It was the first time,” she told me, “that I came into a church and no one looked at me as if I was going to steal something.” Epiphany’s people respected her humanity, fed her, listened to her, and helped her – all in the name and power of Jesus. Eventually, she moved off the street into Section 8 housing, secured both work and support, and pulled her life together. An active member of Epiphany, she helps run the homeless ministry, serves as a Sunday reader, and usher.
|This article is reprinted from Godspolitics on Beliefnet.com. Diana Butler Bass (http://www.dianabutlerbass.com/) was the author of Christianity for the Rest of Us: How the Neighborhood Church is Transforming the Faith (Harper San Francisco) when this article appeared. This was found at www.sojo.net .
It is good news that resurrection is still happening today. I say AMEM to that! How is it happening at Foam Lake United Church?
A few years ago I saw a film on PBS called Unlisted: A story of Schizophrenia.
This is a moving first person account of a woman’s troubled relationship with her father and his mental illness. Physician and filmmaker Delaney Ruston, whose own father, Richard Ruston, has paranoid schizophrenia and at times lived on the street, takes viewers along on a deeply personal journey to reconnect with her estranged father.
I experienced moments of resurrection in this story when film maker Delaney Ruston has moments of deep connection, sacred time, with her father and experiences her father as grandfather for her son. There is a shot of her, her Dad and her son walking together just enjoying being together something she had craved so much as a child. She feels the pain of missed times with him. Especially as a young girl when she needed a stable relationship with her father. She starts to see the beauty of his sole through their open sharing. While this is all painful, it helps her to release years of pent up sadness and hurt that has burdened her life. Out of her courage to re-claim her relationship with her father she experiences moments of resurrection that helps her to live her life more fully.
I have had moments of resurrection throughout my life. They often happen in small ways when I am at home with Jen, talking with a friend on the phone, keeping connected to family. When I was on the Central Committee for the Centre for Christian Studies in Winnipeg, I felt a strong presence of the Spirit among the Council, staff and students. It is hard to describe other than a deep sense of hope despite all the challenges theological schools are facing in Canada. I say AMEN to that!
How do we live out the Easter story each day? Imagine the transformation that could happen in our country if all Canadians, including our politicians, focussed on living compassionate lives. Stories of resurrection would multiply as the compassion of the few turned into the compassion of the many. I challenge each of us to bring our life affirming values to all we do in life. Each time we do this will be a small but powerful act of resurrection.