Tuesday, April 26, 2011


Many of us have heard the Easter story many times which sometimes makes it difficult to hear it with new ears.
What struck me this year about the Easter Story from Matthew was that Jesus rising was accompanied by an Earthquake.
Both at his crucifixion and now God creates an earthquake.
In the last couple of years we have become accustomed to earthquakes.
It seems that we move from one earthquake to another Indonesia, Haiti, and most recently Japan.
They can be destructive.
They rip through countries causing lots of damage, and destruction.
And we all have things in our lives that are damaging and destructive.
But this morning’s earthquake is there to open the grave and announce the resurrection.
Just as the earthquake on Good Friday announced Jesus’ death today’s earthquake announces Jesus life.
That is thing about earthquakes is that even though they destroy they also bring new things as the earth moves and shifts, so too God moves and shifts even in death bringing hope and life.

Consider the case of Dina.
On a normal day she awoke and drove 20 miles to her brothers wedding.
She left behind her three sons who were 2, 3, and 5 years old because they were too young to be at a wedding.
That was the day that the earth shook and disrupted her life forever.
It was the day in Indonesia of the tsunami.
Her three sons died in that earthquake.
How does one go on after such a thing happens?
How does one find life again?
Today Dina runs post traumatic groups for people that have lost loved ones.
She has become a surrogate parent to children who have lost their parents.
In the midst of the earthquake she found new life.
Dina says that she lives knowing that one she will meet her boys again.
“Life and death are too close.” She says.
That is the Easter story out of death comes life.
Out of the earthquake that destroys and disrupts hope comes.

In Matthew’s Gospel it does not tell us why the women are coming to the tomb that morning.
In the other Gospels it is to anoint Jesus body, but in Matthew’s Gospel the woman sit and watch Joseph of Arimathea put Jesus body in the tomb, and then come back on Sunday morning.
I like to believe it was because they knew something was going to happen.
They knew that this was not the end of the story.
It is the same reason we go and visit the graves of those that we love, because we know in faith that they are not gone just temporarily away from us.
Death is the ultimate earthquake it is the most disruptive part of our lives and yet because of faith even that is not the end for us.
Even in death we still have hope.
We still believe in life eternal.
That is the Easter story out of death comes life.
Out of the earthquake that destroys and disrupts hope comes.

That is what the resurrection does for us it tells us that no situation is hopeless.
Consider the story of Molly Macdonald.
She was diagnosed with Breast cancer.
She was a single mother and a lawyer.
Because she couldn’t work during her treatment she lost her job.
She had to make a $1,200 cobra insurance bill every month.
She lost her house to foreclosure.
Her and her kids were homeless and would get food at the local food pantry.
She said that she felt like a “total loser”.
Then she got better, she got a job, and began to put her life back together.
Because of the generosity of the people who kept her going during that time she was able to change.
She knows now that anyone’s life can change in a heartbeat.
She knows that earthquakes happen at any minute.
Now she gives back by volunteering at the food bank so others can get the help that was given her.
From out of the rubble of her life came something new and better.
Earthquakes can help us to re-orientate and gives us new life.
That is the Easter story out of death comes life.
Out of the earthquake that destroys and disrupts hope comes.

This week I had to go to Manchester and I was in a Starbucks in Manchester, and right after I got my drink order the power went out.
It was totally dark in Starbucks.
At first we all thought that the electricity would come back on in a few minutes.
Then a fireman at one of the tables showed us the fire on the poll down the street.
It was then we all realized that the power was not coming back on any time soon.
The workers were telling us that they were going to lock the doors so that no other customers would think they were open.
One of the other people in line yelled, “All right a party.”
In the midst of darkness and disruption a party broke out on a Wednesday afternoon at Starbucks.
That is the Easter story out of death comes life.
Out of the earthquake that destroys and disrupts hope comes.

Sara is from Sweden and in 1994 she was on a cruise when her boat sank in the Baltic Sea.
She managed to get into a raft with 16 other people.
In the morning when they were rescued on 6 people were still alive on that raft.
When she heard about the earthquake in Indonesia she volunteered to help.
She organized groups of people who met to comfort and console one another.
She said she knew, “how important it was to meet others who had lived through disaster. The aim is to go on with life”
Out of a tragedy God was making something new happen.
God was bringing and showing life even in the midst of death.
That is the Easter story out of death comes life.
Out of the earthquake that destroys and disrupts hope comes.

John Lennon on the night before he was shot gave an interview and famously said, “Where there is life there is hope”
The message of the Gospel is even more dramatic because it says where there is death there is life and hope.
Earthquakes will come and disrupt and damage, but Jesus Christ is risen so we live and have hope.
The Easter story is not the end of the Gospel it is only the beginning because all the time we experience the life coming out of death.
All the time we experience the hope we have through knowing Jesus Christ who this day has risen.
He is risen!
He is risen indeed Alleluia!

1 comment:

  1. in 1980's Polish Communist official harangues thousands of workers who sit on their hands and keep their mouths shut.
    Closing prayer offered by bishop who simply says, "Christ is Risen" to which the thousands of workers stand in unison and reply loudly "Christ is Risen Indeed".
    Point made.