Saturday, March 24, 2012

The April (and Easter) Newsletter

Be Afraid, Be Very Very Afraid.....

Or not, you know, no pressure.

In a couple of weeks we will once again descend to the depths and rise to the heights. Within the first 8 days of April we will move from triumph to despair to exaltation as we tell again the stories of parade, cross, and empty tomb.

But there is a difference this year. This year on Easter Sunday we will read the story that ends with “...and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid”. And I can understand that ending.

When the world as you understand it has been turned upside down do you dance for joy or do you cower in fear?

Maybe we do both. Eventually. Maybe we eventually get to the joy of the new day, the new way of being. Maybe we can see the promise of this new life eventually. But not at first. For most of us, the first reaction is one of uncertainty, of worry, of wondering “what now”, indeed a bit of fear is quite understandable.

The Easter story is one full of uncertainty. The one they thought would lead them to freedom has been executed. The powerful in the world seem to have won. And then, in a seemingly final indignity, his body has been taken away. In the midst of all this, someone appears and tells you that the world has been changed, that the one who you know to be dead has been raised to life. I'd run away and hide too!

But the running away and hiding, the silence born of fear, didn't last. Eventually they told someone, and then someone else, and then someone else until the story was unstoppable. And while I sometimes wonder how many people they had to tell before someone listened, it is undeniable that after the fear came hope, after death came life.

What, despite all our hopes, is dying today? What did we hope would change the world only to see it smashed before our eyes? And out of those ruins where is the world being turned upside down? Are we ready to see past the fear and death to new hope and life?

This Easter I encourage all of us to learn from the women at the tomb. Fear and confusion may render us silent for a while. But eventually we need to tell our stories of new life, of hope beyond all hope. And when we can do that, the world can be changed. Easter changed the world. Not all of a sudden. It took time. But when we see new life, when we tell the story and share our hope and vision the world can be changed. And so we carry Easter with us all year long.

Christ has died, Christ is Risen, Christ is part of our lives! Happy Easter!


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