This month, we will celebrate the resurrection of Jesus, our Lord, on Easter Sunday, April 16. Because of what God did on that first Easter, we have hope for tomorrow. With Easter, we see hope bursting forth with every blossom of springtime. This is the personal significance of the Easter experience. But there is also a greater, communal significance to Easter. Because of what God did on that first Easter, we also have hope that our world can become a more just and peaceful place for all of God’s children.
In the resurrection, God says “yes” to Jesus and “no” to the powers that be. Because God has said “yes” to Jesus and “no” to the powers who killed him, we are given courage in the struggle for justice and peace. Even after he is raised, Jesus continues to bear the wounds of the empire that executed him, and we are reminded that the struggle against the powers of death and destruction continues. If Jesus is Lord, the lords of this world are not.
We may feel very close to Jesus when we imagine ourselves in the garden, "walking and talking" with our risen Lord as the hymn describes. But following Jesus after that encounter means sharing Jesus' passion for the kingdom of God. We are called to engage in the daily struggle to be members of God’s kingdom here on earth. We are called to imagine what life would be like on earth if God were king, and the rulers, domination systems, and empires of this world were not. It is the world the prophets dreamed of--a world of distributive justice in which everyone has enough and systems are fair. This beautiful world is the dream of God, whose heart is justice. Jesus' passion for this kingdom got him killed. But God has vindicated Jesus. This is the larger, communal meaning of Good Friday and Easter, and it is usually ignored by most people.
Life is fairly comfortable for most of us in America. We have become accustomed to a high standard of living, and so even if we sense a call to confront “the powers that be” on issues like racism,
affordable housing, immigration, and protection of the environment, we are hesitant to rock the boat. We are afraid that we might lose some of our benefits.
The resurrection is about hope, but it’s much more than just our personal hopes. It’s about God’s hope for all of God’s people, including the least, the unloved, the rejected, and the uninvited. Easter and the resurrection are about renewing our passion for God’s work in the world. In our relationships, in our families, our neighborhoods, our communities, the nation and the world, in our own congregation, there are so many opportunities for new life, new possibilities, new wonders, if we dare to hope for them, to open our hearts and minds to what God can do.
This Easter, we are once again invited to celebrate the good news that Jesus, who was crucified by the powers that be, is risen and alive. Let us celebrate the good news and unforeseen joy that affirm and express God's great "Yes!" to the world, to creation, and to all of life.
Blessings and Peace,