Easter Sunday – Matthew 28:1-10
Alleluia! Christ is risen!
It echoes in here when I say that, like it might in an empty tomb.
Most everyone is at home, keeping to themselves. There are no overflowing crowds celebrating Jesus’ resurrection. People are not showing up dressed in their Easter finest. There are no fancy dresses or hats. There are no “eggstravaganzas” for kids gathered with Easter baskets. Friends and family will not be sitting down together for a big Easter feast. It’s been a time of turmoil, chaos, and loss. Anxiety is in the air. People are shaken, as if by an earthquake. The future is unknown and uncertain.
You know what I am talking about, right? Yes, I’m sure you do.
You know that I am talking about that very first Easter day. I am talking about that “great earthquake” that happened “as the first day of the week was dawning.” I am talking about that day the stone was rolled back from Jesus’ tomb. I am talking about that day only two women showed up for Easter, Mary Magdalene and the other Mary.
That is what you were thinking, right?
Our Easter Sunday isn’t much different from that first one, is it? Regardless of what’s going on around us, how many people show up, the ways in which it is or is not celebrated, or whether it happens how or where we want or think it should – Easter happens. God is faithful and Easter happens in whatever the circumstances of our life and world might be. It did back then and it does now. Easter happens.
Jesus’ Easter message is pretty simple and straight forward. “Greetings! Do not be afraid; go and tell my brothers [and sisters] to go to Galilee; there they will see me.”
That’s what he told the two women that day. And it’s what he tells us today whether we are by ourselves, with another person, or with our family. It’s the same Easter message we heard last year when the church was packed and overflowing.
“Greetings! Do not be afraid…. Go to Galilee; there [you] will see me.”
“Go to Galilee.” That’s where the disciples were from. It’s their hometown. He could just as well have said, “Go home; there you will see me.”
So let me ask you this: where might you see Jesus today, tomorrow, the next day, and the day after that?
In the people who are most familiar to you? In a stranger standing six feet away? In a masked face? In a meal shared with only two or three? In the turmoil of your life? In the familiarity of your own home? In your marriage? In your parenting? In your caregiving for a parent? In your suffering and sickness? In your fear of death? In those moments of love when you risk intimacy and vulnerability? In your loneliness and isolation? In the hell of a broken heart? In the struggle to turn your life in a new direction? In your hopes and dreams? In your successes and failures? In the beauty of creation? In the wonder of life? In your gratitudes and thanksgivings?
Yes. Yes to all of those and the thousands of others places where you will see him.
Easter is happening, and if we can’t see Jesus in our ordinary everyday life we surely won’t see him among overflowing crowds, fancy dresses, and Easter egg hunts; and neither will we find him in the alleluias, lilies, hymns, icons, shiny brass, the paschal candle, the bread and the wine, or the beauty of our church. Easter always happens in the ordinary and everyday stuff of life.
Do not be afraid. Go to Galilee. There you will see him. That’s the Easter promise to you and me.
Easter happens, and it is already happening in the Galilee of your lives.
Alleluia! Christ is risen! Let those words echo through your life and home, like they might in an empty tomb.
Easter is happening.