Do Not Be Afraid.
Alleluia! Christ is risen.
The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia!
There are so many things I want from an Easter Sunday morning. I want the energy, the excitement, the crowds, the quiet desperation of people arriving late, thinking that we are place that begins on time. On Easter Sunday: I want the music, the bells, the solos, the cymbals and I want a trumpet.
I want all of that on Easter Sunday and truth to you now, from my soul: I want to know beyond the shadows of my many fears that all will be well.
I want to know that the world as seemingly screwed up as it is will eventually be ok. (I want to know that the arc of the universe bends toward justice.” MLKing)
I want to know that I will cease to be somewhat self-absorbed and periodically inconsiderate. I want to know that our besetting sins will leave us (all of us) at some point in our lives for more than half a day, so we can be who we long to be.
I want to know that the sad people I see pictured daily in the news will somehow have the wrongs of their lives righted and that they will be safe; that they and their children will not leave this world in a violent way. I want to know that the people I love who have died are now nestled safely in God’s arms and that they like being there.
On Easter Day, on Easter Day. I want to know that he is alive. I want to know that Jesus not only came into the world and died brutally— but that the tomb is now empty, the stone rolled, his body gone, because he has been raised just as he said. If I were to go back to that time on those three days here is what I think I would see and feel….
* * * * *
Friday was beyond belief. We watched as the Son of God, the messiah, at least that’s who we thought he was, we watched him writhe and die. We heard him scream and yell to God, that phrase that so many of us at one time or another have all said, “Why, Why, Why God have you forsaken me.” We watched we didn’t run away, but I wished I was anywhere but there. So though I stayed and was there in my body, my mind, my brain, my spirit was far away.
Joseph, the rich man from Arimathea, came after he was dead. He climbed up on that cross, pulled the stakes out of his bones and struggled down the ladder with his head hanging back. He was more than dead. He was broken.
So were we. We followed to the tomb. Watched him being set inside, wrapped in white, dried blood “browning” the cloth. He put the stone in front.
It was the Sabbath and we left. After the Sabbath was over as the first day of the week was dawning we went back. From there it is all a blur: earthquakes, angels, really? How do I make that up?
This is what I now know. The stone was rolled, the tomb was empty. It smelled of anointing oils and decay. And it was empty. Then we left. When we ran to tell the others, because we knew no one would ever believe us, when we ran to tell others, he greeted us. He greeted us. And Jesus said, “Do not be afraid.”
That is what I took from him. For three straight days, 72 hours I had been terrified, twisted, contracted, incapable of thinking or hoping or seeing beyond what was then going on. And then he said to me, “Do not be afraid.”
“Do not be afraid.” The words the angels said to Mary as it all began, are the words the two Marys’ hear in the end. “Do not be afraid.”
Resurrection is about not being afraid—then---and Now.
* * * * *
What I long for, over and over again is a certainty and assurance of what I think should come to be will be.
Do not be afraid.
But, resurrection is not a certain assurance of what I want. If we look only for a certainty of what we want, of what we imagine, a promise that the world will be how we think it should be— -than we limit our lives and the arc of our world to only what our small, frail minds can imagine --- rather than what God knows can be.
Resurrection lays aside our quest for human certainty and instead offers us a promise of God’s reality. God’s reality: A world filled with courage—a world where 20 years ago Rawanda was in the midst of Genocide and now they are slowly making there way to a wholeness none of us could have ever imagined.
Resurrection invites to not be afraid, to not be afraid to love with all we have, for death is not final.
Resurrection bids us to set aside our past defeats and risk again. For God knows and sees more than we can ever ask or imagine.
Resurrection calls us to a reckless joy of finally letting ourselves be known and loved completely and utterly as we are.
Resurrection moves us beyond fear.
Resurrection is more than angels more than earthquakes more than metaphor.
Resurrection is a way of being and existing. Resurrection is an act of rebellion and resistance to the world’s known order. We don’t have to accept either “no” or death as the final answer. The sins of humanity no longer have the final say.
Resurrection means we do not have to be held hostage to the constraints and limitations of this narrow-temporal minded world.
Resurrection means there is always something more. Resurrection means—we do not have to be afraid.
For the stone is rolled, the tomb is bare, he is not there, He is risen.
Alleluia Christ is Risen,
The lord is Risen indeed.
Copyright Bonnie A. Perry April 2014