Sunday, 24 April 2011
EASTER DAY 2011
The picture is of the Easter Candle in St Magnus, decorated by Carol Wishart. (Thank you Carol.)
Jesus said, “unless a grain of wheat falls into the ground and dies it remains but a single grain, but if it dies it bears much fruit”
“if any want to become my followers, let them deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me”
Following Christ means death and life. It means dying daily and rising daily.
Throughout the gospels the talk of dying and rising, or death and life, are all about transformation, and Paul picks this up very strongly in his early epistles when he too speaks of being dead to sin and alive to God in Jesus Christ our Lord. The old order is gone, behold a new creation.
To follow Jesus all this way to Jerusalem is in fact to follow him to death and life. Jerusalem is the place of endings and beginnings, it is the place where we are asked, “can you drink of the cup that I am to drink?” Or otherwise can you die with me?
Easter therefore faces each of us with some pretty hard questions, these are somewhat lost of we choose just to think about the day being a day of rejoicing and alleluias.
We need to put ourselves into the story, we have to see ourselves at every turn of the page.
As we have seen many times our story and the story of Jesus push up against each other, and His story can significantly change our own.
What is more this transformation was not just personal, it also played itself out in community, the disciples drew others to them by being this transformed community, and Paul describes baptism as a means of dying and rising with Christ into a new community of Faith.
The Way of Christ is the way of dying and rising, it is the way of being born again. Dying and rising is the way to God.
The cross has become the enduring symbol of Christianity. But we miss the amazing point of this as it was an abhorrent symbol of execution and of everything oppressive with the world.
How did such a thing of horror get to be used as the symbol of a life giving faith? It was through the cross that life was revealed, it is through death that life is once again restored.
We are celebrating this today. The cross is the signpost for the way we should follow. The cross shows us the people we can become, it reveals the person loved by God, the person being called to be a new creation in God’s eyes.
This is the possibility for you and I today, and every day in Christ.
We need to be born again. To peel off the layers like an onion which we have and the world has layered upon us in our life.
I came across this lovely story recently of a three year old girl. She was the first born and only child in her family, until her parents had a new baby brother for her. Within a few hours of the new baby brother being brought home from hospital the little girl made a request to be alone with her new brother in his room with the door shut. Her insistence about being alone with the baby with the door shut made her parents a little uneasy, but then they remembered they had set up the baby monitor intercom so they realized they could be on call the moment they heard anything concerning happening. So they let the daughter spend time in the room with her baby brother, and they heard her saying to the brother “Tell me about God – I’ve almost forgotten”.
We so easily separate ourselves from God, we make him as a distant being, and in so doing also make him almost beyond our reach.
Jesus came to help us again realise that God is for us, that he is reachable, even touchable through the incarnation. The disciples learnt to see God in the Face of Jesus, they learnt what it was to walk with him the way of the cross. They sat down and ate with him, and we do the same through our Eucharist.
As we celebrate Easter once again, may we recognise the living God walking with us and breaking bread again with us.
May the new life surge through our souls too, that we may once more learn the closeness of God to us.
Alleluia Christ is Risen
He is risen indeed alleluia