The Rector's Column April 2017

by The Rev . Dr. Jason L. Parkin

Easter always falls on the first Sunday after the first full moon on or after the spring equinox. As complicated as that sounds, it makes sense, since it means that Easter coincides with the greening of the earth. Christ is risen, and the whole world comes to life. Christ is risen, and everything is made new. Sap rises in dormant trees, spring peepers start their peeping, daffodil bulbs planted in the fall shoot to life. The connection between Easter and springtime is a happy one, guaranteed to renew our faith in the creative power of God.

But the connection between Easter and springtime is also misleading, because, while spring is entirely natural, Resurrection is entirely unnatural. When a human being dies, we do not wait around for the person to reappear so that we can pick up where we left off. And Jesus had truly died on that lonely Friday afternoon. Convicted as a felon, and silenced once and for all as a heretic, Jesus of Nazareth died seemingly abandoned by the God he had proclaimed with utmost certainty and by the disciples with whom he had shared his abundant life.

But God raised Jesus to new life beyond the grave and beyond death. God's love for the human race is so profound that God will not allow anything to prevent us from finding and receiving the new life God wishes to offer us. The power of the Resurrection does not lie in the empty tomb. The business of the living Jesus was with the living, was to manifest the outlandish love of God for the human race; and he calls all of us to become transformed creatures in the light of the new world God has fashioned. Every act of forgiveness is a sign of the Resurrection. Every moment of compassion toward the broken or hurting is a sign of the Resurrection. When we defend the weak; when we rejoice in the rising sun and go to work with delight; when we have the courage to fall in love; whenever we lean forward into an unknown future, we are living the Resurrection, the new life given to us by a thoroughly and consistently and absurdly generous and loving God.

Before we reach the Day, of course, we need to journey through the Week, the unexpected, ridiculous, absurd story of Jesus' passion, death, and resurrection. To put it as simply as possible: Come. Come. Join your heartbeat to the heartbeat of God. Wave a palm branch in jubilation. Have your feet washed by a cleric needful of the reminder to be a servant. Offer your prayers at the foot of the cross on Good Friday. Gather around the font at the Great Vigil, and then jump in surprise as a priest hollers out the first proclamation of the Resurrection. Find, once again, the God who has found you, and who will not let you go, and whose love for all of us is incomprehensible and inexhaustible.