Stations: Resurrection (Easter Sunday)

25033732033_99aa455ce0Christ is risen!

That’s today’s great proclamation, but in the sunrise of the first Easter, resurrection is breaking news. But now we live in the light of ancient news, it’s sometimes hard to picture what that means in a world of barrel bombs and climate change. We try to imagine everything around us changing, we write books about the Second Coming. But maybe the purest expression of life after Easter is those first few hours after two days of darkness.

For someone like Peter there’s the resurrection of hope; his last memory of Jesus was a crucifixion and a cock crowing, but with the news of an empty tomb, maybe memories of Jesus’s promise to rise again start to break through the guilt and the remorse; maybe chains of his own making start to loosen, start to break.

For others, the empty tomb is judgement, condemnation, a grenade rolled into a toxic environment, the divine sabotage of a religious machine so that we can be liberated, jubilee through the jamming of gears. For those in the path of religious dreadnought, the empty tomb might even be an underground railroad.

And then there’s the iconic moment outside the tomb: Mary, crippled by grief, lost in the mourning, hears a voice; nothing more is said, other than her name, but in two syllables hope and love, grace and the future are resurrected within her, and she turns towards the voice, every nanosecond reshaping and recreating the world entire. And yes, she’ll go on to live the rest of her life, good and bad, but here in the garden she’s reborn.

Maybe this is the Easter we need; in the deepest depths, in our darkest hours, to hear a voice whispering our name, a whisper that raises us to new life, shoots of green breaking through cracks in the pavement, a moment in which all the things we thought lost are found again, in which chains are broken and prison doors kicked open, unexpected words in a garden that hold hope and grace enough to create a future.

In the dawn of Easter morning, a voice whispers “Let there be light” again, and Jesus steps out of the tomb. And a whole new Kingdom silently explodes into life.

The other posts in this series can be found here.

Easter Sunday 2012

(This is a repost of something I wrote last year for the sister blog to this one, Geeks Shall Inherit the Earth…)

Only a couple of days ago we commemorated an execution – an assassination, effectively, born out of a conspiracy and tied up with thoughts of politics and revolutions. Good Friday is a blood-stained day, and yes, it was a heroic sacrifice, but its centrepoint was still a crucixion and while we’re now more accustomed to seeing a cross as a piece of jewellery, in reality it’s a very brutal way to die.

And yet that was two days ago; now it’s Sunday, and this is where the story twists its final turn, where it stops being reductionist about death and starts talking about life again.

Not just life either – a different life, a transformation, a new start. That’s an idea that holds a tremendous weight; we’ve all been there, setting out towards a new horizon, excited and curious and yes, maybe nervous because the map says “There be dragons”, but you go out in courage and hope anyway, because the map only says that because no-one’s journeyed out there before to know the truth. You’re the first. You’re the pioneer. One small step.

That’s one way of looking at it; the other is that transformation is impossible or undesirable, because we’re too scared, or too comfortable, or too incapable, or maybe even too damned. There’s no new start ahead, just more of the same. Even when it gets boring or frustrating or horrific. Don’t vote, they’re all the same; don’t change jobs, there’s nothing else out there; don’t leave him, he might change but you never will.

Don’t give into those thoughts. Because sometimes a new start isn’t just a nice change, it can save your life. Really, it can save your life.

Easter is about new beginnings. The action in the story of Good Friday takes place in the afternoon, the day drawing to a close; Easter Sunday, well, that’s all about the morning, daybreak, the sun rising and all things unexpectedly become new.

And maybe it’s a second chance in another way. After all, by this time of the year all those new year resolutions have probably fallen by the wayside. Maybe we should think about Easter Resolutions as well – practical, spiritual, whatever. Because the story of the empty tomb is a story of new starts and second chances, of hope renewed and second chances, and of a fresh beginning, growing in a garden at springtime.

Happy Easter.