Christ is risen!
And we all shout in reply Christ is risen indeed!
Yet, for many people, it is difficult to see resurrection.
My theology professor – Rev Dr Jay Johnson wrote:
“I have to wonder: why did those male disciples refuse to believe the women? This should have been the happiest news they had ever heard. Why, in Luke’s words, did it seem to them merely an “idle tale”?
Luke suggests a reason with the question posed to those apostolic women by angels at the empty tomb: Why are you looking for the living among the dead? That’s an important question all of us should be asking ourselves quite regularly: why do we keep returning to worn-out patterns and toxic relationships and lifeless institutions?
Here’s an answer I’ve been sitting with for a while: because death is easier than new life.
Winter’s reluctance to yield to spring here in western Michigan this year reminded me of those cold wintry mornings over the last few months when the alarm goes off and the wind is howling and the snow is blowing and it’s dark outside.
On mornings like that, my Australian shepherd dog Judah and I both agree that it is far easier to pull up the covers and stay cozy and warm in bed.
Death is easier like that because life requires something of us. Life requires that we actually throw back the covers, get up, get dressed, and go out to engage with the world.
We seek the living among the dead because that’s what we’ve been taught and it feels natural; we already know how to nurse grudges and cultivate resentments and sow hatred and start wars…it’s actually quite easy.
We seek the living among the dead because it’s just easier to live conveniently and for our own comfort and among our own kind…even when we’re fomenting violence and killing the planet in the process.
We seek the living among the dead because death, in all its many forms, is so close at hand and so easy to find—in our communities, in our politics, and in our institutions.
And still, and yet, God is with us even there.
“Mary Magdalene on Easter Morning,” Sieger Koder
We can choose the familiarity of death and God will still be with us. God will never abandon us; not ever.
That’s good news, and there is even better news: The God who made us wants still more life for us, in abundance, the kind of vibrant life that we can scarcely imagine.”
This Sunday, we begin the sermon arc “Easter Voices” – and join me as we meet Thomas, the disciple who doubted.