At a time when…
….researchers race to find a vaccine and treatments for Covid-19, we are confronted by the resurrection….
….we still are looking for the first signs that Covid-19 deaths are starting to decline, we are confronted by the resurrection….
….the hot debate is when to open up the economy while not risking a second wave, we are confronted by the resurrection….
….New York is digging a trench to bury the many bodies unclaimed, we are confronted by the resurrection….
….the many mourners are not given the normal opportunity to grieve at the funeral, we are confronted by the resurrection….
….churches are not gathering for worship in buildings filled with Easter lilies, we are confronted by the resurrection….
These past couple months have been anything but normal. So much of life has changed that we are left with the question is what will the new normal be? Yet, this Sunday is Easter and this is what the resurrection has done – it changes everything. We may want to go back to what we consider to be normal but the resurrection confronts us with a new normal. Our ongoing race for a cure, our mourning and our burying of the dead has come to an abrupt confrontation with the love of God in Jesus Christ. He entered our death with his cross but his resurrection has opened up life for all creation that death no longer touches.
Mary Magdalene and the other Mary went to Jesus’ tomb. They were doing the normal act of grieving. Don’t we also approach the grave of a loved one to remember and to grieve their important place in our lives that death has taken away? Matthew tells us that guards were posted to protect against the “fake news” of Jesus being alive. Do we really want to have our normal power structures upended by the news of love being stronger than death? The two Mary’s were confronted by such love as an earthquake opened Jesus’ tomb and an angel told them that Jesus wasn’t there, he was raised from the dead. They were to go to Galilee where they will see him and along the way the risen Jesus met them. He told them to tell the disciples and go to Galilee.
A couple important items that Matthew highlights. The two Mary’s came to the tomb on ‘the first day of the week.’ Creation began on the first day. The resurrection of Jesus is the beginning of a new creation. The old ways of pain and grief and dying and Covid-19 will be no more. They have been confronted by the love of God in Jesus Christ risen.
A second point is the importance of Galilee. This is where it all started. Jesus began his work in Galilee where he announced to turn life around because the kingdom of heaven was now at hand. The same message is for us to hear as well – turn life around because the reign of God bringing life out of death has now begun in Jesus crucified and risen. So whether we are ready for it or even if we prefer the old normal, the love of God is bringing life out of death.
So in our grieving…our struggle to find a new normal…the race for a cure…worshiping at home online, we are confronted by a love that entered into the old to bring a new creation that will be filled with life. This good news of the resurrection is what greets us this Sunday. Jesus Christ be praised!!