Easter Sunday

The sound was “touchy” until about 8 minutes in, so I would start there. If I was tech savvy, I would have cut the first parts, but I’m not.

Cusp of something new, reaffirm faith, & forgiveness.

Photo Credit: Alecia Piscitello

We stand before the rolled away stone and new life.  New promises.  A new reorientation.  Our lifetimes are full of little deaths and resurrections.  This past year had been a collective big one.  We are sitting on the cusp of resurrection.  Life as we know it had been paused, died away, and reassessed.  So many things we have had to let go of and let die.  And yet…there is resurrection and renewal.  We look toward the light at the end of the tunnel. The stone has rolled away and opened a new door.  

Where the Lord closes a door, somewhere he opens a window (The Sound of Music).  We must feel for the breeze and look for the window.  

If we choose it, we have left behind the shadows to resurrect.  It might not be “the same”, but a rebirth and a renewal is here.  It is never “the same”.  We are leaving behind a phase, letting it die, to begin anew.  

It’s a scary moment, resurrection.  Especially in those first moments, when we come upon the empty tomb and we don’t know.  We don’t know what has happened.  We don’t know what’s to come.  

The unknown is scary.  The Mystery.  What is the meaning of the cross, the death, and the resurrection?  How does it reflect what is happening to us today?  

He is risen.  We are risen with him.  

What does that mean, now, for us?  The resurrection of Jesus maybe feels less like a historical event and more of an echo of where we are now.  Perhaps it feels more real than ever.  

He is risen.  We are risen.  

But the work is not over. It’s never over.  It’s Joyously only just begun.  What do we rise up to do, to be, to become?  

The feast of Easter is one of new love and new hope and new faith.  We must believe in the resurrection. We must have faith when all seems lost.  This is a time for us.  A time for looking within ourselves to our own faith and spirituality.  It is also a time to look to our community of faith, that place where we are supported.  

The path of the faithful, the religions, is not  easy.  We have proclaimed to be believers and walkers of a Way.  We have proclaimed that we walk the path of Jesus.  We must commit to the practice and walk the walk., not just talk the talk.  Not just to say, “I believe”, but to practice acting this way of faith, hope, and love.  

This is not that we have to be perfect.  It’s not that we won’t make mistakes, but to choose to walk the path of Jesus means we have to practice it.  Easter, resurrection, is a time to recommit to a renewal of practice.  A time to reaffirm our faith and to reflect on what that means personally and as a community.  It means for us to look at the ashes of the past year, the lessons learned, the growth we’ve made, and choose how to become in the year to come.  

How can we be more like Jesus?  How can we behave with more love, more hope, and more faith?  We are here to choose our own resurrection and reaffirm our faith.  

Hope, love, faith, and the action piece of death and resurrection is…forgiveness.  

Forgiveness.  The Easter resurrection tells us that forgiveness is the thing that breaks us from the ties to the past…the things we need to let go of to be more loving, more faithful, more hopeful.  Some say that the resurrection is a break from a path focused on sin to a path focused on Love.  Some of the last words of Jesus are: Father, forgive them, they know not what they do.  

Forgiveness.  We can not truly let go, and die, and rise up again, until we unleash the ties that bind us to the old ways.  We can not begin anew, clinging to the old.  We can do one of two things: roll the stone away or throw stones.  We can meet with an open hand and heart or a closed fist.  

We choose our own resurrection.  We choose to let die.  We choose to renew.  

Love.  Love thy enemies.  Can we forgive those who have beaten us, tortured us, and nailed us to the cross?  Can we love that much?  Jesus on the cross culminates our stories of forgiveness…especially when it is so hard.  We’ve all heard those deep and amazing stories of forgiveness.   

To forgive is not to skip over justice and punishment, but it is that we let go the ties that binds us to them, and them to us.  It is the letting go of that which holds all parties back.  The healing power of forgiveness is to show that we can love, even when we are hurting, that we can love and trust and have faith in the power of redemption.  That we will not get in the way of redemption.  That we will forgive.  

Happiest moments are one of forgiveness.  When a weight is lifted from holding on to that which is over and past.  To create space for newness and love.  Grudges, shame, bitterness, hatred, loathing…these are the crosses that hold us to the past. The things that do not allow us to experience new, fresh beginnings.  Forgiveness opens the window.  

Often the harder person to forgive is one’s self. Perhaps this resurrection Sunday, we let die: self loathing, shame, bitterness, past mistakes, misery to resurrect new love and new hope and new faith.  

This Sunday, we move forward.  To do so, we shed what needs to fall away to let live.  This Sunday, we practice forgiveness, reaffirm our dedication to faith and love, reaffirm our faith in the path of Jesus, and allow ourselves to look with new hope on the cusp of a New Beginning.  

To close with a quote: “If the cross and resurrection are not just historical happenings, but present realities, then what we celebrate at Easter is the healing power of forgiveness at work in our world today.”  (J. C. Arnold)

May we trust in the power of forgiveness.  May we do the courageous work to forgive and heal.  May we believe that all can be resurrected into the path of love and hope, trust and faith.  

May we celebrate moving stones, opening windows, and being a part of the resurrection of the things that matter most.  

Mini Prayer:  Today, we reaffirm our faith in love, hope, and the healing power of forgiveness.  

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