What a joy it was to be joined by over twenty of you for our outdoor sunrise service this Easter Sunday! We had keyboard, electric guitar, and flute. We had poetry and a cross bursting with lilies. We had coffee and mittens and folding chairs. And though it rained later that day (as it has every Easter I’ve been in California!), we had pretty clear skies and a sun flaring on the horizon.
Most importantly, we had you — in body or in spirit — as we sang and prayed and heard the story of Mary Magdalene, drawn from weeping into hope as Jesus calls her by name.
“I have seen the Lord,” Mary says, when she runs to tell the disciples. In the worship you experienced, in the meals you shared with friends and family, in the quiet moments of Easter Sunday, I hope you had your own versions of Mary’s story.
So — now what? Now what, in these first days after the Resurrection? Let me suggest one possibility: that you celebrate God’s redeeming love…by relaxing. Find a day, or half a day, or just an hour in which you are intentional about doing nothing. Nothing other than recognizing all that God has done for you, through Jesus.
One of my favorite preachers tells this story: A horseman is riding through the night, anxious to reach a town that lies on the edge of a great lake.
The horseman rides and rides, never knowing how far he has gone, or how fast he is going. When he finally reaches the town, it is long after dark. He asks the first person he sees how much further it is to the lake. She points behind him. It becomes clear: he has already crossed the frozen lake, without knowing. He has passed over the worst possibility, and felt nothing. He falls to his knees in gratitude.
I’m still figuring out how I think salvation works, but one thing is clear to me. We can’t do it ourselves. No matter how much we huff and puff, no matter how busy we get with our hours, the matter of eternity is out of our hands. And on Easter, with that empty tomb, God communicates once and for all that God is on the side of life and love.
Maybe some Easters, we feel that truth like a burning coal. Maybe some Easters, we feel not much more than nothing. But God has done God’s job. As with the horseman, the worst possibilities are behind us. We have passed over that frozen lake, into new life.
All of that is to say: we don’t have to do anything, to earn God’s love. We already have it — that’s the Resurrection. Now, we can bask in it, and discover ways of shaping the world according to its promise.