Subtitle: Seeds, kernels of theological refection about the meaning of Easter
Note: The following is the revised text of a theological reflection I shared with my parish community, St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church, Spartanburg, South Carolina, during tonight’s livestream of An Order for Compline from the Book of Common Prayer.
Continuing and closing tonight with another, what I call, “Easter Egg” – a seed or kernel of a theological refection about the meaning of Easter.
“Alleluia! Christ is risen. The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia!”
Jesus, in his life and ministry, proclaimed the nearness of the presence of God. “The kingdom of God is at hand” was the constant refrain of his preaching.
Jesus not only proclaimed it, he personified it. Wherever he went, whatever he said and did, those who entered his presence experienced the embodiment of love and goodness and rightness.
Then Jesus was killed. Hate, evil, wrong won. The world shouted “No” to God. And that “No”, surely for the first disciples, must have seemed like the last word.
But “as the first day of the week was dawning” (Matthew 28.1), something extraordinary occurred. The resurrection of Jesus. To the world’s persistent “No” to love and goodness and rightness, God answered with an indefatigable, unconquerable “Yes”!
Easter is extraordinary. Not because it proclaims a miracle. Not because it proclaims a fascinating, although fictional tale. Not because it proclaims the saga of a first century messiah through the continuing story of his body of believers, the Church. Not because it proclaims a promise of immortality. But because it proclaims God’s “Yes”!
Therefore, going all the way back to what I said on this past Sunday night, Easter is extraordinary because of what it proclaims about hope. And, again, by “hope,” I do not mean the wishful thinking of our expression of our desires in the face of all that we cannot control. By “hope,” I mean our conviction that what God has declared in Jesus will come to pass.
If, when we confront and confess the truth about the continuing brokenness of this world where all is never well…
If, when we dare hope that for every human “No” there is a Divine “Yes”…
If, when we dare hope that this divine “Yes”, which, as God’s first word, breathed into being life at the dawn of creation, also will be God’s last word at the close of this age, bringing into being the fullness of life everlasting…
Then to the cry, “Alleluia! Christ is risen!” we will know how to say, “The Lord is – and we are – risen indeed! Alleluia!”