Reflection for Easter Sunday – April 1, 2018

Readings: Acts 10: 34A, 37-43; Colossians 3:1-4 or 1 Corinthians 5: 6B-8; John 20: 1-9

Preacher: Nora Bradbury-Haehl

 

It was still dark.

Her friend, her teacher, had been taken. Had been tortured. To death.

It was still dark.

All the hopes they’d had, all the love they had shared,

With insiders and outsiders, with the mighty and the lowly, was gone.

Had died on a cross. Had been sealed in a tomb. Behind a stone.

It was still dark.

In the weary numbness that comes after deep loss,

She and the other women stumbled in silence through the darkness

With the necessary things—the spices, the oils, the things you need

To take care of a body you loved in life that is no longer living.

Mary and Mary and Salome (that name means peace),

Came through the early morning, “while it was still dark,”

With earthly things and practical questions.

“Who will roll back the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?”

It was still dark.

 

And then it wasn’t.

“Do not be amazed!” said the angel.

“Do not hold on to me,” said the Lord.

“Didn’t our hearts burn?” said the disciples.

It is Easter. It is a new day. The Son has risen.

 

 

We may not be asking,  “Who will roll back the stone?” but we have practical questions of our own:

How will we end the violence?

How can we welcome the immigrant, the refugee?

How shall we provide for the needy? House the homeless?  Care for the broken?

Perhaps your particular practical questions are even closer to home: What about my children? How will I pay the bills? What about my dying loved one, my broken heart, my deep need? What about the darkness I am still in the middle of? What does Easter have to do with any of that?

God gives us Easter every year to remind us that the long penitence of Lent, the deep sorrows of Holy Week, and the darkness in our own lives… are not the end of the story.

Our Jesus—the one who loved and taught, who healed and broke boundaries, who challenged the status quo and welcomed the outsiders, who loved us enough to become one of us and to die for us—he has gone before us.

Whatever darkness you are experiencing, let Easter in. The Jesus, who passed through the darkness himself, never leaves us alone in our own darkness. He has passed through and has been raised.

“A little yeast leavens all the dough.”

This Easter Day falls on April Fool’s Day. How oddly appropriate. 1st Corinthians tells us, “the message of the cross is foolishness.” We’re foolish to have hope in the face of all this darkness, and yet…We start out Lent marking ourselves with ashes. We are dust. We will return there. But we are foolish enough to believe in the paradox of the cross. That our sins are forgiven, that the darkness will end, that the new day has come.

This Easter morning invites us to rise as well. We are each invited, called, commissioned to emerge from our own darkness and bring the glorious light and new life to a world that is in desperate need of it.

This is the day the Lord has made. The bright shining day of resurrection and new hope.

Nora Bradbury-Haehl

Nora Bradbury-Haehl

Nora Bradbury-Haehl has worked with young people in the church for more than 25 years. She is the author of the Amazon Bestseller "The Freshman Survival Guide" for college students which was featured on the Late Show with David Letterman. Nora has presented at the National Catholic Youth Conference and leads workshops and retreats. She has written for Liturgy Training Publications. She now works as an editor for St. Mary’s Press, a national religious ed. and youth ministry publisher, and was a writer for their Breakthrough! Bible. She is active in interfaith work and loves creating opportunities for young people (and any people!) to have conversations that matter.
Nora Bradbury-Haehl

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