The story of creation in the Book of Genesis reminds me of a story when God created the light under government regulations. When God said, "Let there be light," officials immediately demanded to know how the light would be made. Would there be strip mining? What about thermal pollution? God explained that the light would come from a huge ball of fire. Provisional permission was granted to make light, assuming that no smoke would result from the ball of fire, that he would obtain a building permit, and to conserve energy would have the light out half the time. God agreed and said he would call the light "Day" and the darkness "Night." Officials replied that they were not interested in semantics.
God said, "Let the earth bring forth green herb and such as many seed." The EPA agreed so long as native seed was used. Then God said, "Let waters bring forth creeping creatures having life; and the fowl that may fly over the earth." Officials pointed out this would require approval from the Department of Game coordinated with the Heavenly Wildlife Federation and so on and so forth.
Everything was OK until God said he wanted to complete the project in six days. Officials informed him it would take at least 200 million years to review the application and the environmental impact statement. After that there would be a public hearing. Then there would be 10-12 months before...
At this point hell was created.
What happened at Easter? It was Easter morning when light shone out of the tomb. Light, which is said to be God’s eldest daughter, overpowered darkness.
Some people can be so wrapped up in their own darkness that all they see is a world where there is no answer to suffering, where injustice and hatred seem to prevail and when God was presumed to be dead. It is a world of tears and trials, of pain and sadness, and of loneliness and isolation.
Some of us have experienced it at one point or another. When God is presumed to be dead, either we blame ourselves for his absence or we accuse the person next to us for his non-existence. We know who killed God. We know why Jesus died. And we know why the disciples did not see the risen Christ that morning anymore than we do now.
When it is only the darkness we see, when it is only the despair we recognize, and when it is only the tragedy in life we identify, Christ our Light will never shine. It will always be a Good Friday world.
There was a story about a woman who demanded to see the bank manager one morning. She wanted all the money she deposited. The manager politely asked her why. And she said, “Because your sign outside says, Closed for Good Friday.” Apparently, she thought that the bank will be closed for good on Friday.
Easter is about Jesus. It is also us. Because of Easter, any shadow fades when the light comes from up above. Any shade and any darkness can be conquered by even a tiny speck of light.
What happened at Easter? It was Easter morning when love triumphed over hatred. Love, which is God’s being and becoming, God’s own essence and existence, prevailed over those we hate.
Some people can be so weakened by their own hatred that all they flaunt and criticize is a world where there is no forgiveness and reconciliation, where retaliation and pride seem to prevail and when God was seen to be a prisoner of a dark tomb. It is a world of break-ups and separations, of misery and exclusion, of disagreements and fragmentations.
Some of us perhaps have been in these situations before. When God is seen to be the prisoner of our world, we either pretend to be God or we bow down to other gods. We know why God remained in the tomb for another day. We know why we have to wait and to be patient for another chance, another opportunity, or another blessing. And we know why the disciples did not expect to see the risen Christ that morning anymore than we do now.
When it is only the wrong things we point out that we remember, when being selfish that prevents us from reaching out is all we ever do, and when pride that hinders us from reconciling and forgiving is all we ever have, Christ our Love will never come. It will always be a Black Saturday world.
Easter is not about the past, but about the future. Jesus showed us that love will never be held prisoner by the limitations of the tomb. Prophecies may cease, tongues be silent, and knowledge disappear. But, love will never end. Love always prevails.
What happened at Easter? It was Easter morning when life conquered death. Death has no more sting. Death has no more power. Death is no longer the enemy.
Some people can be so paralyzed by their own hardship and misery, their despair and hopelessness, their heartaches and bitterness that all they experience is a world of neglect and deficiency. Some of us have probably felt what they felt. We lost people we love. Some of them had left us without even saying goodbye. We have our own share of darkness and pain.
Moments like these might have brought us to ask, “Is there an end to all our loneliness and suffering? Is there an end to all our pride and selfishness? Is there an end to all our trials and tears?”
Easter Sunday is God’s response. There is an end to all these because there is a God. Not all the Good Fridays and Black Saturdays of our lives can ever destroy the reality of what Jesus accomplished. He conquered them all.
Because Easter is not about death, it is about life. And these all happened one Easter morning.
24 April 2011