By The Rev. Sherry Deets
Easter Sunday – March 31, 2013
Christ is risen! Alleluia!
Parker Palmer wrote an Easter meditation entitled: An Upside-Down Easter Meditation. I love it. His focus was on the words that were the title of a book: Threatened with Resurrection. Threatened with Resurrection. Those words had a huge impact on his life at a time when he was suffering with depression – which he called a death-in-life experience. The title jarred Palmer into the realization that figurative forms of death sometimes feel comforting, while resurrection-or the hope of new life- feels threatening.
Why? Because death-in-life can bring us a perverse sense of relief. Palmer says, “when I was depressed, nobody expected anything of me, nor did I expect anything of myself. I was exempt from life’s demands and risks. But if I were to find new life, who knows what daunting tasks I might be required to take on. Sometimes we choose death-in-life (as in compulsive overactivity, unhealthy relationships, non-stop judgmentalism aimed at self or others, work that compromises our integrity, substance abuse, pervasive cynicism, and the list goes on) We choose death-in-life because we are afraid of the challenges that might come if we embraced resurrection-in-life.
Barbara Crafton has this to say about death and new life: What good is a seed? None at all, unless it falls to the ground, ceasing very soon to be anything like it was when it fell. What are your chances for remaining just as you are now? Absolutely none. Nothing stays as it is. Everything hurtles into the future, faster and faster all the time, it seems to us.
That this is sad is a matter of interpretation. The more you think and wonder about death, the less tragic it appears. Christians are the ones who assert at least once a week that this life and this world, much as we love it, [much as we are called to truly live in it] is far from being all there is. That there is an immense context to us, a context of which we are almost completely unaware, waiting to be discovered and experienced.
No thanks, says the seed. I don’t want to taste water and feel the sun, feel a tiny green shoot in my heart grow and grow until it bursts out into the light. I’ll pass: don’t want to become a great sunflower or a nodding poppy, an oak tree. Nah — just let me stay here in my envelope with pictures of these things on the outside.
But the Gardener has other ideas. You’re going to love it once you get going, he says, and presses the seed into the warm earth, sifting a little soil on top of it and pressing again. He pours a gentle shower of water on top and blesses it all. Enjoy your next chapter, he says. I know I will — I can’t wait to see what you become.
“Why do you look for the living among the dead?”, the two men in dazzling white clothes said to the women at the tomb. Why do you look for the darkness when there will always be light?
In between Good Friday and Easter Sunday rests Holy Saturday. That period of agonized waiting. We humans are not so good at that waiting thing, are we?
Nothing seems to be happening.
I’ve been exercising for a few weeks, watching what I eat, and I don’t see any changes.
I’ve been going to AA for days now, and I still want a drink. I thought it would be different by now.
He’s been gone for months, yet I still expect to see him walk through the door and throw his coat into the corner every night. When will the pain of grief stop?
This job search is going nowhere fast. Interview after interview…yet nothing.
I planted those seeds weeks ago. It still just looks like a plot of dirt. Stasis. That time of waiting.
Our wounds are fresh, our days go forward edged in numbness, and we are tired of waiting. We wait.
But underneath the layers of fat, dirt, grief, pain, ennui, life is stirring. At the very core of creation, God is living and moving and transforming. Transformation, it seems, happens at the very core first. Deep within us, and happens before we can even feel the transforming healing and hope of God happening. Trust the slow work of God, even when the work will still take a while to reach the surface.
And then… And then the deep light that never truly faded finds a crack, a wound, a break within ourselves and souls. And it bursts forth.
Rejoice now, heavenly hosts and choirs of angels! Rejoice, the old is falling away! Rejoice, God is still living and moving.
Can you feel it? Can you feel it within your very soul? If not, keep on. You will. God will find a way. Somehow, someway, in a way that will likely be surprising, mysterious, and even uncomfortable.
Because resurrection isn’t just a story, a day we celebrate in the Church year with hymns and prayers and flowers. Resurrection is real. (The Rev. Mary Koppel and The Rev. Laurie Brock from DirtySexyMinistry Blog Post 3/30/13)
Now let us all join with Mary and the others at the tomb and look for the living. Let us truly live our lives in the knowledge and power of the resurrection. Say “yes!” to life! Resurrection-in-life!
Christ is Risen! Alleluia! Amen.
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