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Easter Musings

Sister Doreen’s Reflections

“The world and time and all created by God
Are eastering and rising up to life again.
The universe and all of us are the result
Of unbearable tenderness, and we are laced
And threaded with everlasting life that
Cannot and will not ever be undone.
Hope surrounds and delight stalks our every step,
Because Love still reigns and seeks us out
No matter where we hide or live.”
(by Megan McKenna, in ‘The New Stations of the Cross’).

Each year as we walk through the scriptures of Lent and Holy Week, and we arrive at Easter, I am always surprised! It is a walk through one unbroken movement of love and sacrifice and ultimate joy. To have resurrection we must pass through death by way of the cross.  It is a surprise that invites or even sometimes shocks me into waking up – a challenge to open my eyes – and to see that the world that I fell asleep in on Holy Saturday night no longer exists!  Everything is changed!  All things have been made new!  It is the gift of a new beginning!  That is what we sing, that is what we believe, that is what we hope for.  Each year I ask the same question “how will I learn to walk in the new reality that Easter dawn has opened up this year?”

 The past couple of years have added a new dimension to the question that presents a deep thought provoking challenge:  it has seems that we have walked through the valley of the shadow of death – with COVID: loss of family and friends, loss of community and fellowship and family ties.  We have been confronted by the disasters of climate change both here at home in Canada and around the world.  And now we are being confronted by the shadow of war and worries for the global community. How will I learn to walk in the new reality that Easter dawn has opened up this year?  How will I say no to the power of death and destruction that surrounds us, and yes to the heart felt belief in the sustaining power of our loving God, who brings life out of death and reconciliation out of war and transformation out of pain and healing out of a pandemic?

One of the Easter stories that I find is a rich reflection each year is the Gospel story in John 21: 9-12  “When they had gone ashore, they saw a charcoal fire there, with fish laid on it, and bread.  Jesus said to them, “Bring some of the fish that you have just caught.”  So Simon Peter went aboard and hauled the net ashore, full of large fish, a hundred fifty-three of them: and though there were so many the net was not torn.  Jesus said to them, “Come and have breakfast.”

After the news of the empty tomb and Jesus resurrection, the Disciples in their confusion and sorrow, went their own way – some back home on the road to Emmaus, and some back to fishing.  They may have wanted to get back to their old way of life, but in all the gospel stories, Jesus meets them, comes into their midst and will not let them go!  He sits down and eats with them.  In this story the simple words Jesus speaks:  Come and have breakfast is like an invitation for the resurrection to become for them and for us a daily event, like breakfast.  I find this such an important Easter message, one that resonates with Megan McKenna’s poem … “because love still reigns and seeks us out no matter where we hide or live.”

For me this year, this is such an important truth – a ‘whisper’ to put into my ear – food on my breakfast plate :  “because love still reigns and seeks us out no matter where we hide or live.”

Ian McDonald in a book called “Living Water” says: “They are to let Jesus rising be that burst of energy that fires up their brain cells and teases the body into the activity of work.  And scripture being what it is, “they” means us.  The real meal deal is not the banquet at the end of time, or the sacrament of bread and wine in the middle of the day.  It’s getting up in the morning with nothing and finding the whole glorious resurrection world is on your plate.”

“Come and have breakfast”.  Resurrection, the risen Christ’s abiding present, is a daily event.  What are our own small daily resurrections?  Health after a serious illness? A transformed relationship? Sunshine on a depressing day? Watching a news clip of a child singing a song of hope and freedom while hiding in a bunker in the midst of the war in the Ukraine? A child reaching to hold my hand?  A smile?  A snowdrop pushing up through the snow? … these are all resurgences of life, bursts of energy and banners of hope.  Are they not hints of resurrection? 

Easter comes to us as fitfully as it did to the first disciples – the same mixture of doubt, fear, certainty, anxiety, and joy.  God daily is present as a loving mentor and faithful friend calling us to go forth into the Galillee’s of our lives showing forth that the love lives on through us – us who attend to one another, to strangers, to God’s word and sacraments as a way of life. God meets us where we are, extending a hand towards us in understanding and compassion with a love-gift that is our transformation, and God beckons us to hope and to heal, resist and invite others: to be an Easter community of new life in a world that seems too often one of violence, prejudice, abuse and death.

Hymn # 9 in Common Praise:
Today I awake and God is before me.  At night, as I dreamt, he summoned the day;
For God never sleeps, but patterns the morning with slithers of gold or glory in grey.
Today I arise and Christ is beside me.  He walked through the dark to scatter new light.
Yes, Christ is alive, and beckons his people to hope and to heal, resist and invite.
Today I affirm the Spirit within me at worship and work, in struggle and rest.
The Spirit inspires all life which is changing from fearing to faith, from broken to blest.
Today I enjoy the Trinity round me, above and beneath, before and behind;
The Maker, the Son, the Spirit together they called me to life and call me their friend.

Queen Elizabeth in her Easter message in 2020 said:  “The discovery of the Risen Christ on the first Easter Day gave his followers new hope and fresh purpose, and we can take heart from this … as dark as death (and grief) may be, light and life are greater.  May the living flame of Easter hope be a steady guide as we face the future.”