Easter marks a moment in time when God raised the lifeless body of Jesus from death to life, thus vindicating all that Jesus taught and did in his earthly ministry. It is the day around which the whole Christian faith is founded – “Go quickly … tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead” (Matt. 28:7). This is the best news of the best day for the world; the news that God can create life from death, order from chaos, meaning from confusion. The news in fact is not new. It is as ancient as creation – for in creation something was created out of nothing.
Easter Sunday, however, is one of the hardest days for a preacher. How does one find something new to preach on? So, maybe the best the preacher can hope for is to remember the old. On Easter, Christians all over the world pause to remember how once God came to be one of us. And that hatred and narrow-mindedness and evil and fear took him to the grave. On Easter those same Christians pause to remember how God’s light refused to be darkened, and God’s voice refused to be silenced. We remember that God’s love burst from its place of entombment out into the world. We remember that we have seen how love can overcome hatred, inclusiveness can obscure narrow-mindedness, good can overshadow evil, and courage can take the place of fear.
The good news of Easter is announced first to women by angels just as an angel announced the news to Mary that she would be the mother of Jesus. In one of his post-resurrection appearances to his disciples, Jesus declares to them, “…it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead … And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.” (Luke 24:46-47) Jesus’ fellowship with sinners lives on.
As the body of believers who belong to the risen Christ, the church is the community of the new creation. The church at its best continues to be the community of the new creation in a world that is too often headed for dissolution by violence, abuse, death, and destruction. Being people of the resurrected Lord Jesus, the church is in the business of praying for the renewal of the world and seeking to renew it.
Therefore, on Easter, we remember to go out from our place of worship in faith and courage, because God’s love is not entombed. God’s love is spread throughout the world in each of us, shared in our prayers and conversations, our actions and our caring.
We remember. And we carry the memory with us.
Rev. Robert Chew