Karen Gibson: Easter joys
April 17, 2014
It spills out all around us.
I see it silently in stores all around town. They cry out for me, take me home, take me home let me go home with you.
It is the pastel-colored flowers, reminding me of spring. They are like splashes of hope sitting there on the shelf, promising to brighten my day every time I look at them.
The only other colors these compete with are the colors of the Easter eggs that will be hidden Sunday morning or at the New Creation Church Easter Egg Hunt on Saturday.
These silent pots of joy are hopeful signs of spring. There is another kind of flower that is more than a reminder of Easter: the flower that blares out the sound of "Alleluia, Alleluia Christ is Risen, He is risen indeed!" from its trumpet-shaped, delicate petals. These flowers are the brass section in the orchestra, the Easter lily.
How white they are, how unique in shape. They have broken through the ground and balance on the tip of a stem rising high above the earth and out of the pot from which they grew.
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The actions of tulips, hyacinths and Easter lilies are all a reminder of Easter. They are a reminder of the action that took place on Easter morn almost 2,000 years ago.
Jesus was laid in the new tomb Friday before sunset, and the door of the cave was a large heavy stone. The body of Jesus was to be protected from grave robbers, and especially the disciples, from taking Jesus' body.
But when the women went to the grave Sunday morning, that heavy stone door had been rolled away. The tomb was empty, and the disciples didn't know what it all meant. The word "resurrection" was hard to get their heads wrapped around at first. It took all day Sunday, and there were three encounters with the resurrected Jesus in the Gospel stories before Jesus' followers were able to understand what had happened to him.
Jesus was alive indeed.
The word "resurrection" is used much more today than it was Easter Sunday.
Adam Hamilton, in his book "The Way," says Jesus' "appearance changed everything. The message was clear: Neither sin, nor hate, nor evil, nor even death would have the final word. God, in raising Jesus from the dead, was shouting to the human race: Love has conquered hate, grace has conquered sin, hope has conquered despair and life has conquered death. Love, grace, hope, life — these have the final word because of Christ's resurrection. That is our defining story as Christians." (p.164)
In the Northern Hemisphere, we begin to look for signs of spring around March of each year.
There are signs that it is arriving when the snow melts off and the days begin to warm up. We know there still will be days of wet snow and chilling winds, but we are counting on spring. We are counting on the variety of flowers coloring the stores.
Adam Hamilton said, "I'm counting on the fact that there is always hope. I'm counting on the fact that God walks with us through hell and back again. I'm counting on the fact that God forgives our sins and that he's the second chance.
“I'm counting on the fact that ultimately we don't have to be afraid. I'm counting on the fact that sin and hate and sickness and death will not have the final word. When we walk in the footsteps of Christ, we walk with hope." (p. 167)
May you have a joyful Easter. Please consider worshipping this weekend at one of the churches listed; they will be delighted that you have come.
Karen Gibson is co-pastor of Friendship United Methodist Church.