Here we are; we've moved through Lent. Easter is at hand, that important Christian holiday when we celebrate Jesus’ resurrection, God’s overcoming of death. Trumpets announce Easter joy, we raise our voices in song, and say together “He is risen! He is risen indeed!”
As many of you know I am a nature lover. For many years I have been drawn to the image of resurrection in the plants and trees around me. The cold earth begins to warm and new green growth begins to emerge from what had since last fall, seemed certain death. Trees, stripped of all but their branches, begin to soften; tips begin to swell as new life flows up from deep within.
But this year, thanks to a meditation I read about the story of Noah by Rev. Anneke Oppewal, I have a different thought about resurrection: it is in the daily lives of people rising up from the ashes, coming back from devastation, and rebuilding.
In her meditation Oppewal notes that the key to Noah’s story is not so much in his building the ark, gathering his family and a multitude of animals and bouncing around on the water’s surface, as it is in what happened once the waters subsided. Noah had the courage to open the hatch and let the dove out. Noah did not know what might be outside of the ark – the ark might actually have been a coffin for all on board. But he did have the courage to let fresh air in and to release the dove to see if it might return with a sign of new life.
In my time at Second Church I have witnessed such courage, such daily resurrections when life has seemingly been laid waste. People have suffered debilitating strokes and yet emerged and carried on with strength and optimism. Others have lost loved ones: life changed for them forever. And yet they too reclaimed life, responding to that power beyond us that calls us to hope and renewal. Others have walked to the very edge of life, peered down at death and returned, grateful for all that life holds for them.
In this Easter-tide I wish you the joy of Christ’s resurrection -- Alleluia! And beyond that, I wish you courage and daily resurrections in the face of fear or illness or disappointment. May it be so for you.