EASTER SUNDAY

Read: Luke 24v1-12

On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb.They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.’  ” Then they remembered his words.

When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others. It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles. But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense. Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened.

Meditate: How does the word ‘Easter’ make you feel? Excited? Happy? Hopeful? Relieved? According to this story, the first answer was actually: puzzled, terrified, unbelieving and perplexed. If you feel this way when you hear the Resurrection story, you are not alone.

What happened on the first Easter was something nobody expected. Praying at Easter isn’t about celebrating with a kind of easy certainty. It’s about praying in the midst of a broken and fractured world that is now open to strange new possibilities. It’s about being open to God’s future.

Before you can understand the resurrection, you have to understand what Jesus had been trying to communicate to us all along. That it was necessary for him to do what he did. To take the sin, shame, and death of the world onto himself. Easter is not about some arbitrary miracle. Easter is about the new creation beginning at last!

Easter is where it all begins. It is the start, not the finish, of the new story. 

Engage:I regard it as absurd and unjustifiable that we should spend forty days keeping Lent, pondering what it means, preaching about self denial, being at least a little gloomy, and then bringing it all to a peak with a single day of celebration. We should be taking steps to celebrate Easter in creative new ways: in art, literature, children’s games, poetry, music, dance, festivals, bells, special concerts, anything that comes to mind.

This is our greatest festival. Take Christmas away, and in biblical terms you lose two chapters at the front of Matthew and Luke, nothing else. Take Easter away, and you don’t have a New Testament; you don’t have a Christianity.

If Lent is a time to give things up, Easter ought to be a time to take things up. Christian holiness was never meant to be merely negative. Of course you have to weed the garden from time to time; that’s Lent for you. But you don’t want simply to turn the garden back into a neat bed of blank earth. Easter is the time to sow new seeds.

If Calvary means putting to death things in your life that need killing off… then Easter should mean planting, watering, and training up things in your life that ought to be blossoming, filling the garden with color and perfume, and in due course bearing fruit.

The forty days of the Easter season ought to be a time to balance out Lent by taking something up, some new task or venture, something wholesome and fruitful and outgoing and self-giving.” NT Wright, Surprised by Hope