We have just celebrated Easter and most of us have heard someone preach about the meaning of the day. What do we remember? What stays with us as the meaning of what is called the most important celebration of the liturgical year?
Easter means that Jesus is risen from the dead and it reminds us that we too will rise from the dead. It also says that Jesus has not left us behind and is always with us.
The question is, what is Jesus doing when he is with us? Is he just here to provide us with companionship? There are two words that remind me that Jesus is more than a companion with us on the road. They are healing and transformation.
When Jesus rose from the dead he appeared to the disciples and showed them his wounds which were still there but in his risen body there was no pain. It is a good image of what the resurrection of Jesus does for us. We too are healed of our pain through the power of the resurrection.
When we think of what happened in Christchurch we can see the pain in the community over the 50 people who were killed. But the killing and the pain was not the end of the story. Led by Prime Minister Jacinda Adern, people were invited to respond to this tragedy from a deeper, better place from within themselves. They were called to be inclusive, to be forgiving and compassionate and they were.
This was the power of the resurrection at work in our world. God did not turn away and ignore us at that time. God is God-with-us and the risen Jesus, through the power of the Resurrection, through the Holy Spirit, worked in the hearts and minds of millions of people to bring healing to individuals and to nations.
The response that we saw in New Zealand was so different from what has been the usual way of talking and behaving. You could call it a transformation of the public discourse after such tragedies.
It is common to talk of our own growth in life as a journey through a series of transformations. We reach a certain plateau but the life within us keeps pushing forward. We start to feel things changing within us and then there is a breakthrough. We see other people differently.
We often read of stories where people have had a crisis and with the help of others they come to a new understanding and a new perspective on life. They have been transformed. This is the power of the resurrection at work.
So Easter is not just a remembrance of something that happened a long time ago and is far from our everyday lives. It is a celebration of what God continues to do in us and in our communities.
Despite the Son of God being killed, he rose from the dead because of the love of God for us. That same love continues to heal and transform the whole world. Alleluia.
Fr Trevor Trotter