Easter Reflection, 2011
Rev. Marguerite Sheehan
Focusing Scriptures: Acts 10: 34-43, Psalm 118: 1-2, 14-24, Matthew 28: 1-10
Acts 10: 34-35 - Then Peter began to speak to them: “I truly understand that God shows no partiality, but in every nation, anyone who fears him and does what is right is acceptable to him.”
Psalm 118: 17 - I shall not die, but I shall live and recount the deeds of the LORD.
Matthew 28: 4-9 - For fear of him the guards shook and became like dead men. But the angel said to the women, ‘Do not be afraid, I know that you are looking for Jesus who was crucified. He is not here; for he has been raised, as he said. Come see the place where he lay. Then go quickly and tell his disciples, “He has been raised from the dead, and indeed his is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him.” This is my message for you.’ So they left the tomb quickly with fear and great joy, and ran to tell his disciples. Suddenly Jesus met them and said ‘Greetings!’ And they came to him, and took of his feet, and worshipped him.
Alleluia, Christ Jesus has been raised and we who gather together are alive to tell about it. We are alive because we have refused to guard the tomb but instead have come, out of our mourning and out of our fear, into the light of a new life. When Peter tried to put into words what had happened he did not start with the miracle of the resurrection but stammered out his confession of faith in a totally inclusive God who calls the fearful and the brave to do what is right. In his own confession he echoed the words of the Psalmist “I shall not die but I shall live and recount the deeds of the LORD.” The resurrection is a continuous event, rippling through the ages, across all the nations, calling the fearful and the joyful, to rise up and run to recount the deeds of a living, impartial, and passionate Godhead.
The women, both the named and the anonymous (the “other Mary”) came as the day was dawning, to see with their own eyes, and to touch with their own hands, to inhale the scent of their fallen Teacher. They came so that their own souls would rise as the day rises to greet the sun. And when they arrived they, like the guards, were shocked by the force of the earth pushing the rock aside. Their eyes must have been blinded by the splendor of the angel. But still they listened with incredulous ears, listened to the message that the angel passed to them. “Do not be afraid. He is not here. He has been raised. Go. Quickly. Tell.”
And if the message was not clear enough, Jesus himself met them and greeted them like old friends and they did not back away but instead grabbed him and worshipped him, as a lover takes a hold of the Beloved and pours out her love, kissing the hands, the face, and the feet. This was the first embodied, full and passionate preaching of the Resurrection. This is what we, who love life fully and joyfully and hopefully, are called to do on this Easter Day. Go. Quickly. Tell what you have seen. And then, for the rest of your life, do what is right and acceptable to the One who you love.
Oh Beloved Jesus, we bow our heads, and throw ourselves on the solid earth as we take in your ongoing, impartial, and full bodied love. As you raised your own self from death and suffering to life and joy, may we too rise now and stand in your company from this day forward. May we go and tell what your life and your love has done and continues to do. We are not afraid!