"But sometimes it doesn’t seem that way!" We have all had those times in our lives when it seemed as if our world was coming to an end. I am not referring to the eschaton when all that we know of this world will come to an end but rather those moments of personal crisis when there seems to be no way forward. It can happen when we confront the specter of terminal illness for ourselves or for someone we love; it can be prompted by the end of a friendship or breakup of a family or the loss of a job; it can be provoked through the devastation caused by an encounter with one kind of natural disaster or another. What then? How do we cope, how do we find the strength to continue? This is when the events of that first Holy Week become a personal experience and not merely a religious memory.
For those first disciples it seemed as if their world had come to an end in the days leading up to that first Easter Sunday. The darkness of despair and the betrayal by the civil and religious authorities had extinguished their dreams. They had pinned their hopes on that wandering Rabbi who had emerged out of the wilderness. He had encouraged them to look forward to a new and brighter world where God’s reign would be made visible for all to see. But now it seemed to be all over. To add insult to injury when they buried the broken body of their beloved friend they did so in a borrowed tomb and blocked entrance with a rock. They could not even honor him in his death.
But that wasn’t the end of the story. The stone was rolled away and their nightmare came to an end. Jesus was gloriously raised from the dead. He didn’t simply survive it he overcame it. But it was not simply his life that was forever changed. All those who put their trust in Him have been given the same promise that death will no longer have the last word for us. Instead we will overcome it. Like him we will be given a new body and live forever in the closer presence of the One who loves us even more than life itself. But even that isn’t the end of the story. We have also been given the promise that the very same power that raised Jesus from the dead is now at work transforming the lives of his followers.
And I have seen it. I have seen men and women who were dead to the things of God come alive – I have seen blind people be given their sight and I have seen sick people made well. I have known people who were locked into patterns of abuse and addiction set free. I have seen men and women with no hope have their dreams restored and their hopes fulfilled. I have witnessed broken marriages made whole and children who were lost brought back home. It is all part of the resurrection story. It is not just about then but it is about NOW. The good news is that the God that we serve is not only a God who offers radical inclusion but also a God who promises profound transformation.
Nothing, nothing, absolutely nothing is impossible with God.
Alleluia! Christ is risen!
The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia!
The Rt. Rev’d Martyn Minns
Missionary Bishop of CANA