Christ is risen, he is risen indeed!
He has conquered death, raised the dead, and will raise us too. We reach for his hand, and he carries us up, now and at the end of time on Earth, our time and all time. In his death, is our life; in his life, our death dies. We need only reach for him, touch his wounds, say yes, Lord, I believe. Yes, Lord, take me with you. I am yours. Remember me in Paradise. Remember me now and forever. Hold me close until the morning breaks, when dawn lightens our world of worry and war.
Easter, and the weeks preceding, give us hope. They remind us, in the re-enacting of these events, of the great drama of salvation. This life, we see, is a prelude to our true life to come, a preface, a hint of the eternal joy Our Lord promises.
Last Sunday, Palm Sunday, we entered the gates of Jerusalem, alongside Our Lord on an unridden colt, a pristine colt we are told in one Holy Scripture account. We waved our palms, following the procession out the side door, through the parking lot, along Bowditch, turning at Durant and assembling before the red chapel door. Our good priest knocked on the closed door, re-enacting the entry of Our Lord into the holy city. We entered, to tell the story of the great events that were soon to come.
And so today, after re-enacting the drama of Holy Week – Maundy Thursday and the institution of the Holy Eucharist at the Last Supper, the Good Friday arrest, trial, and crucifixion of Our Lord on a hill outside the gates, the deathly silence of Holy Saturday and the evening lighting of the paschal candle, the world waiting for rebirth, for resurrection – we find Mary Magdalene discovering the empty tomb and meeting the resurrected Lord of Life.
Throughout the week we read the witness accounts of these events again and again in the Gospel readings appointed for each day. It is a kind of “harmony” of the Gospels, a side by side, day by day vision of the personal testimonies of St. Matthew, St. Peter (told by St. Mark), St. Paul (told by St. Luke), and St. John. Each emphasizes a unique witness, as would be natural, yet all re-affirm the key events that would change the world forever: the crucifixion, death, and resurrection of the Son of God.
Easter holds hope within it. Dawn breaks on an early spring morning, and we assemble in church to sing well-known Easter hymns, flower a white cross, drape a white mantel over the now visible crucifix above the altar. Gone are the purple shrouds of Passiontide, those weeks leading to this moment of joy. We too bare our souls, removing the shrouds of death and despair, as we don the garments of life and joy.
There is a tradition of baptism on Easter Eve. Just so we are rebaptized with every Eucharist and every Easter. We recall this glorious gift of salvation every Sunday, but Easter is the glory of all glories.
Our fallen world needs hope, will always need hope. Christ gives this hope, seeding his love in our hearts. He waters the seed and it grows within us, if we desire it. In time, the Creator recreates us, again and again. He loves to create, this Lord of Life, create us as we are meant to be and become. We sense this, even those who say they don’t believe, through pride and self-delusion. We all sense there is more to life than mere matter, that mere matter isn’t mere, but holy in itself, created by the Creator, the Lord of all.
And so we say, “Christ is risen, he is risen indeed!”