In just a few weeks, we will be celebrating the highest and holiest of holy days in the Christian calendar: Easter. We will shout our hallelujahs and raise the roof with our songs of praise to God for the amazing thing he has done in giving Jesus back to us, the community of his disciples, alive.
We come to Easter expecting things: our favorite Easter songs, to hear again the story of the women who come to the tomb and find the stone rolled away and the tomb empty, to re-imagine the women’s fright and to anticipate their delight when they discover the six delirious words which give voice to their testimony: Jesus is risen from the dead. We’ve been celebrating Easter for a long time, and none of this gets old. Even so, it is always good to remember that in the Gospels no one, no one, expected resurrection.
Resurrection, you see, is more than a bit of information. Resurrection is an announcement of transformation. No one really expects it. Yet, when it sinks in, when it lays hold of you, absolutely everything else looks different. And, if you find resurrection a little hard to believe, you’re in good company. This just means you’ve joined the rest of the disciples who thought the women’s testimony was delirious nonsense.
On Easter, we come to utter the women’s testimony, to say the six words which join us with countless martyrs who sang those words as they were being fed to lions, to join us with the likes of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Oscar Romero, and Martin Luther King, Jr, all who believed that those six delirious words meant the world was ripe for transformation and that oppression and injustice could not, the death dealing ways of the world, would not stand.
And all of these, and more, have joined with the women in their delirious testimony and have found that resurrection cannot be explained, only experienced. In these, we see that faith isn’t knowledge, the right facts; rather, faith is conviction, conviction that God is at work in the world, our world, fashioning life from death, infiltrating the story we tell ourselves about ourselves with the story that life is stronger than death, that God’s love is stronger than death, that, in the end, resurrection is the only story there is. Come and join us on Easter as we give voice to our testimony that Jesus is risen from the dead.