The Day Reality Changed
Rev. Michael A.Trask
Early on the first day of week, before the sun was above the horizon, the women who on Friday were not allowed to finish preparing Jesus body for burial due to the encroaching Sabbath, came to make things right. For a couple days now, they were fretting over how their dear teacher was not put to rest in a proper way. They carried a mixture of fragrant herbs and lotions with which to anoint his dead body.
They approached the tomb all prepared to deal with a corpse, but when they arrived, the massive stone had been rolled away, and within the tomb, there was no body. As they were standing there, holding their lotions and herbs with knitted brows perplexing two angels appeared and said “Why do you seek the living among the dead? He is not here, He is risen.” Reality had changed.
Before they arrived, within that small space of a tomb, carefully hewn out of the living rock, the cold, grayish corpse of Jesus flushed pink with the color of life, his mouth opened, taking in a deep rush of air, eyes flickered bright with the presence of his returning spirit. He who was dead, was now alive. In that little man made cavern reality would be changed; the trajectory of creation would be altered.
When I say trajectory of creation I refer to it’s direction and course. And we are all very much aware of how it needs to be changed; we are aware of this on so many levels. A few summers ago, I remember looking at a mature silver maple my back yard. It’s limbs were immense, It’s shade not dark but nicely dappled. I remember saying “that’s my favorite tree ever.” But not long after that I discovered the rot. It was pervasive. The immense limbs could injure us if I did not remove it. And so I had to say goodbye to my favorite tree ever. And I won’t live long enough to really enjoy the one I planted as it’s replacement in all it’s glory. It thought that as I dug the hole for it.
It is that kind of experience that we have over and over. This is the trajectory of this world. We’re always saying goodbye stuff that we love. Goodbye old tree, good bye old dog, Goodbye youth, goodbye hair, goodbye health, Goodbye my dear ones. Goodbye grandmama… good by Dad, Mom. We are ultimately always saying goodbye. This is the trajectory of the current realm…. downward. Death smeared all over everything. And we are told that we just have to accept it.
But what happened in that little tomb makes it clear that our creator does not accept it. In fact, he downright rejected it by rising from the dead. It is humanities fall into sin that has so skewed the course of creation. Our sin brought the thorns upon the ground. Jesus went to the cross to die for our sins wearing a crown of thorns. He went there to remove the curse. The fact that he rose from the dead means that he was successful. He’d have stayed dead if his suffering was not sufficient. Having thus risen from the grave he has changed the course of the future.
That’s what Isaiah the prophet was hinting at in today’s old testament lesson. He tells us about the whole new world God has been planning for. A world that is not longer subject to death and decay. A world the you can plant a tree and expect to enjoy it. A world where you can build a house and expect to live in it. A world without war. A world without hate. A world where there is no more wheel-spinning futility because there will be no more death. On the Last day, Jesus, the risen one, the living one, declares in a loud voice from his throne, “Behold, I am making everything new.”
So Easter is not just some quirky little holiday that we Christians observe. It’s the beginning and the foundation and the background for something that is bigger than all outdoors. A new world, a new life, a new trajectory that is upward not downward.
Much of that is yet to be revealed. So what does the resurrection of Jesus mean for us right now?. It means that we can live hopefully rather than darkly. It means that we can arise anew each day as forgiven people. God does not hold our sins against us. We don’t have to be looking over our shoulder all the time. We have a God who loves us. We have a God who has promised us a new heaven and new earth. We have a God who has promised us life that will never end. He has sealed the promise with the blood of his Son and confirmed it by his resurrection. Yeah, bad stuff happens all around us at present., But we know that this is not all there is. Jesus’ resurrection illuminates our day and our lives. AMEN