In John, Jesus’ followers see the empty tomb and then go home. Someone’s raised from the dead and you head to your barcalounger? Luke tells us of two followers who basically say, “Some women told us that Jesus had been raised from the dead, but we’d already planned to have supper over in Emmaus and couldn’t change our reservations.” A man is raised from the dead and you can’t cancel dinner plans? What kind of folk are these disciples?
They’re people like us. People who like to believe that you can have resurrection and still have the world the way it was last Wednesday. We are amazingly well-adjusted to the same old world.
But Matthew? Easter is an earthquake when doors are shaken off of tombs and dead people parade down State St. The stone is rolled away, guards fall unconscious, and an angel perches on the stone. Easter was like an earthquake that shook the whole world.
We modern types try to explain the resurrection. “Oh,” say medically minded people, “he was in a deep coma from the trauma but woke up.” “Ah,” say those who use counseling jargon, “in the extremes of grief, the disciples created a shared fantasy that took on a spiritual reality.”
All that lives, dies. The good get it in the end. Face facts. It may be a rather somber world, but it is our world where things stay tied down and what dies stays that way. And there are few surprises. This is the way we are.
But Easter is not about us and the way our world seems to be. It’s about God. Who makes a way when there is no way; God who makes war on evil until evil is undone; a God who raises dead Jesus just to show us who’s in charge.
On Easter, God took the cross of cruelty and made it the means of triumph. God took the worst we do – all our death-dealing doings – and led us out toward light and life. And the earth shook.
Jesus came back to forgive the very disciples who had forsaken him. The world is about forgiveness, as it turns out, not vengeance. And the earth shook.
At the Emmaus, Jesus picked up a piece of bread, and you could see in his hands where he had been nailed to the cross. The world is about life as it turns out, not death. And the earth shook.
On Easter when the earth shook and a stone was dislodged we got a first glimpse of a whole new aspect of life, a world where death doesn’t have the last word, a world where injustice was made right, and innocent suffering is vindicated by the intrusion of a powerful God.
Christ is Risen! Hold tight
Rev. Bill Schram began his ministry with Westminster in March 2018 and is the current Interim Minister. Bill attended McCormick seminary in Chicago and met his wife Jenny there. They have served as co-pastors and in separate positions. He has served churches in urban, near suburb, small town, county seat towns in various positions such as pastor, associate pastor, interim pastor, and hospital chaplain. He and Jenny have two natural and one foster daughter. Delightfully, they now have a granddaughter to enjoy.