Easter Sunday. Finally, all of my mainline family can stop yelling at me about me singing worship songs that have the word “hallelujah” in it. 😜 lololzzzz am I right?
Most of us know what we’re celebrating. Most of us know the story. But let’s recap, shall we?
Jesus has been in the ground for a few days, and on the morning of the third day, the women who were followers of Jesus were then going to the tomb to prepare the body for a proper burial. But when they get there, a most curious thing has happened. The stone which covered the tomb was rolled away. They rushed into the tomb to see if the body was there and it was gone.
And just then an angel appeared to them, with an appearance like lightening. The angel said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here.” The angel goes on to tell them where they’ll find him and then they run to tell the others, who end up not believing them. Understandably so.
On the surface, it’s a beautiful story of life triumphing over death and the miracle of the resurrection. But I like to read it through a more personal, and a touch mystic (shocker), lens.
(Side note and first of all, the fact that this announcement was made to the women first, those considered lesser in society, I think speaks to God’s intention to elevate women to equal status with men. You’d think that them being the messengers of one of the most important announcements in history would be emblematic of their status, but patriarchy. Anyways…)
The questions the angel asks them: “Why do you look for the living among the dead?” What if we were asked the same question? Obviously, we aren’t looking for a corpse, but in our own lives, how often do we look for the living among the dead? How often are we looking for the way forward in paths we’ve already trod?
The Risen Christ is more than just a figurehead, but a symbol for our own lives. Within us, there is a new life ready to burst forth, to come to life, to be activated. And there are some things in our lives that we have to lay down, that may need to symbolically die before we can step into new life.
When you are looking to step into new life, you’ve got to stop looking in graveyards. The way forward is not behind you.
There is another account, in John 20, where Mary Magdalene is weeping outside the tomb when a stranger appears, and she begs him to return the body if he’s taken it. Little does she know, it’s Jesus. Upon realizing this, he says to her, “Do not cling to me…”
When I hear that, I hear more than just a simple command, but a prophetic word that we all need.
Things were about to change. Jesus was going to ascend to Heaven, and not be physically present. “Do not cling to me…” Do not cling to what has been. Do not cling to the idea of me, of what you think it is to be a follower of the way. Do not cling to your former ways of doing spirituality.
The figure of Jesus here is a symbol of our own lives, raised up, and ascending into new and beautiful possibilities. It is life abundant, and that means growth. And growth means change is absolutely going to occur.
We cannot cling to what we’ve done, how things have been. Whether it be in our personal lives, in our churches, in our religious practices. God is constantly trying to elevate us and if we are only looking for the living among the dead, that’s where we will stay. If we are only clinging to what is familiar, we will never ascend.
Easter is the great announcement of a new way of living, that all things are possible with God.
Happy Easter, y’all. He is risen. He is risen, indeed. 🙌🏽Easter Sunday asks us why we are looking for the living among the dead in our own lives. Click To Tweet
Today’s text referenced were John 20 and Luke 24. And again, thank you to Rev. Emmy Kegler for her inspiration and her sneaky ways of pulling me into the mainline… it might be working but I’m not willing to admit it yet.