What do we really focus on in the empty tomb and resurrection story every year? Is it the fact that Jesus defied all odds and rose again? Is it the terror turned to amazement and joy that the disciples feel when they realize he is resurrected? Is it the fact that he appears first to the women and allows them to be the messenger of this amazing news? It is a complex tale of disciples trying to wade through grief and mourning and determine next steps once their leader has been crucified. And when they witness resurrection in the midst of the sorrow, it changes everything about how they feel empowered to move forward.
Let's focus on these RE phrases this Easter:
It's important to remember what the REsurrection of Jesus points to in the distance. It points to a time when the systems that have oppressed the message will no longer be able to do so. It points to a day when the peaceable kingdom is actually achieved. That is what the true REvelation of Christ is. The knowledge that the story ends in peace. It is important to note that the Bible itself does not end in heaven. It ends here. With the angel of God saying (in Revelation 21) "the home of God is among the mortals" and that "all things will be made new." Here. In this place.
And for God to be at home among us, God must be seen in all of us. The women see the Risen Christ standing before them in the garden and run to tell the others that they, too, can see him if they but look. In her book Grounded, Diana Butler Bass speaks of the word cosmopolitanism. She writes,
"Cosmopolitanism is an inner awareness that our individual lives and national identities are playing out on a vast global stage. This implies recognition and a shift of perspective--of seeing and experiencing the web in which we live. Recognition, in turn, gives birth to empathy and the profound realization that we really, truly are in this together."
When we have that REcognition that God is in our neighbor, when we see ourselves in each other, we grow in communion together. No matter what backgrounds we come from. And we should be very clear of how this message is first spread in this Resurrection story. Christ comes to those with no voice, no power, no authority FIRST. The women first receive the news. And Christ insists that THEY are the ones to GO and tell others what they saw. That begins a whole new REvolution.
What Christ points to in the REsurrection REvelation to the women is that God will be revealed in the days to come through all people. In diverse ways. By unexpected means. Even in stark contrast to what anyone might have heard or believed before. That seems to be, after all, one of the key themes of the biblical narrative. As Bass puts it,
"God's diversity in who is called to share God's message. She writes,"Even the book of Revelation describes a vision of diversity, of people from every tongue, tribe, and nation who gather in the New Jerusalem. In the holy city, we maintain our uniqueness while God dwells in our midst. Unity is experienced in love and friendship, not doctrine or dogma. There is no coercion of faith. "
I'm pretty sure this is what Jesus was promising when he goes to his death on the cross. God will not let love die. Instead, Love wins. It always has. That is the real REvolution that takes place on that morning long ago when some women see a REsurrection that changes everything.
Anyone who has a spiritual awakening or encounter, a sense of awe or wonder, leaves that experience wanting to share more goodness in the world. That encounter with awe, or GOD, always leaves us breathless but eager to tell others what we experienced and looking for ways to draw others in. It's like when we see God as all around us, instead of up above us or otherwise apart from us, we understand our common purpose together.
Thoughts? Email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or comment by clicking the comments tab below.