What happens when the Word becomes flesh and dwells among us, full of grace and truth?
What happens when that flesh-covered truth preaches from a mountainside and says “blessed are you when people say all manner of vile things against you…”?
What happens when people touch the hem of his garment and are healed, or when he touches the untouchable, loves the unlovable, or tells the supposed-sinner “come down from that tree, I want to eat at your house today”?
What happens when he says “Lazarus, come forth!” or causes a ruckus by overturning tables in the Temple?
What happens when he rides a donkey into Jerusalem during Passover to become our most perfect sacrifice and most perfect priest, the one who makes a way for us to confidentially approach God?
What happens when we, in return, hear the story of his cross, his grave, and his triumph over death, and fall to our knees in gratitude?
What happens when his church (maybe even ours on Charlotte Pike where no matter who you are or where you are on your journey you are welcome) gathers on Sunday morning to hear his story and realize that they are valued by God?
What happens when those same people are challenged to live holy lives and respond to that call in the way they live and love at work, at home, on the internet, with their friends, and in their social lives?
What happens when those people gather together in meetings to make their voices prayerfully heard so that Christ’s church can remain a strong voice of hope to our community?
The answer to each question is “resurrection.”
Resurrection, my friends, is what happens when life and love are shown to be stronger than death, darkness, fear, and shame. Resurrection sits at the heart of the wonder of the empty tomb and the joy we feel when we hear “he isn't here, he is risen, just like he said he would!” Resurrection is what makes us sing “Christ the Lord is risen today!” on Easter morning, and it’s what makes us sigh with relief when we read:
"Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world… All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else. But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved! For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus.” (Ephesians 2:1-6)
And so, Holy Trinity family, I pray that as Easter finds its way into our hearts, our church, and our chocolate-filled baskets, that you will know the joy of resurrection. I pray that our church will see the hope of resurrection. And I pray today – in the midst of so much tragedy, violence, fear, prejudice, and pain – that our world will find the peace that comes with resurrection.
Today, let’s ALL begin to celebrate Easter by being agents of resurrection and life with every word we say, with every word we type, and in every relationship (even the difficult ones) that crosses our paths. After all, we are Easter people… children of God who once were dead, but are now raised with Christ and living a life of resurrection!