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Associate Minister's Column

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On Easter Sunday I preached a short reflection on resurrection. A few people asked for a printed copy of it. Here it is: (although talking about resurrection in May is completely out of the normal liturgical calendar, so please forgive):

Rarely does resurrection look like the re-creation of something.

I’ve known a few church members who, after each of their spouses died, started reading all of their books. They looked at which passages were highlighted. In this way they are getting to know a slightly new person all over again. For those brief moments their loved one is resurrected.

I’m also thinking of those people who just knew that their depression would go away when winter was over, but are distraught to find out that even though the days are getting longer, they are still struggling. I’m thinking of those who are still struggling with addiction, who thought that this time they wouldn’t relapse, or those who feel picked on, bullied at school or work. Maybe resurrection doesn’t come in the form of a savior. Maybe resurrection is a community like this church where you are reminded week after week that you are loved and you are worthy.

I’m thinking of those people who have read the news and felt that justice is slipping away, or that we are getting further and further from the promised land.

And when I think of all those who are suffering I remember the end of that story in the Gospel of Mark. The people who went looking for Jesus weren’t men. They were women - the people traditionally written out of the story. They looked in the tomb. They didn’t find Jesus. They were told by a man sitting in the tomb “You are looking for Jesus the Nazarene, who was crucified. He has risen! He is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter, ‘He is going ahead of you into Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.’”

Maybe they found his resurrection not in Jesus. Maybe they found it in the person they knew and were following. Maybe the found resurrection the next, albeit imperfect, generation.

Maybe they found his resurrection in Peter. After Peter’s murder, maybe they found the resurrection in gathering to remember him and restore their hope as a people of faith. This exact spot, his grave where they gathered every year, is where the Vatican was built.

Maybe the resurrection of justice isn’t in the tomb, or a failed conviction or voted down piece of legislation. Maybe the tomb is always empty because love and justice cannot be buried.

Maybe resurrection does not look like a life preserved. Maybe resurrection looks like the rebirth of love despite years of heartbreak, or the rebirth of hope despite years of setbacks.     Maybe resurrection looks like ambiguity and imperfection and disappointment. Maybe resurrection lives whenever you think about that person or idea you thought you lost, but found that, while they are still gone, they aren’t gone at all.