Bible Readings : Acts 10:34-43, John 20:11-18
I had a friend once who decided that ‘doing emotion’ was too hard – who chose to live instead seeking neither celebration nor sorrow – how did she do this? By pretty much cutting herself off from relationships, from people – for it was when she got close to people that she found herself scarily happy or inevitably disappointed or hurt.
Sometimes we do that with Easter – choose not to engage with the seamier side you might say. Flick straight from Palm Sunday’s hosannas to Easter Sunday’s allelulias without the pain of Good Friday’s horror– and yes Easter Saturday’s hopelessness. And when we do this, we are not only ignoring the pain but also not giving the incredible joy of Easter morning a look in. For it is from the doorway of pain and loss that the risen Christ can be truly seen.
When I was searching for a reflection that might weave together both the magnitude of suffering and the joy of resurrected life into a clear message for us today I found this book on my shelves ‘If Jesus were a teenager today’ by Tom Kerr. There were several stories that took my eye, especially the one about the island community whose understanding of Easter as the death and resurrection of Jesus was gradually replaced by purveyors of fine chocolate – but I thought I might keep that for another time – and then there is this one ‘Hoping for an echo’ which I hope will speak to you as it did to me.
If I came to your door with flowers and chocolate and said, “I love you”, would that do the trick?
If I came bearing gifts I’d made especially for you, fashioned with my own hands... if I flung a myriad of twinkling stars throughout the darkness of the night sky to show you the light of my love... if I splashed my love around your world in waterfalls, waves, rivers and rain....if I painted you a world with all the colours of the rainbow, the delicacy of the flowers and the blazing power of the sunrise and said, “This is all for you. I love you”, would that be enough? Would you see that I love you?
If I wrote you letters and poems and songs and stories... if I put them all in a book and dedicated it to you with all my love, would that move you? Would you believe me when I tell you that I love you?
If I sent you singers, poets and prophets, messengers, martyrs and saints to deliver the message of my love, would they get through to you? Would you listen and would your spirit be sparked to life? Would your soul rise up on wings like eagles to ride upon the thermals of my love?
If I sent my love to you in human packages, wrapped up in the skin of your family and friends, would you catch on? Would you catch on that their love was also my love? Would you see those people who love you as a dowry from me to you?
And when your own heart is at its best , when it swells up and overflows with compassion, affection, caring and kindness, would you know that I was at the source? Would you know my love within the love you feel or give to others? Do you know that you love others because I first of all loved you.... and that they love you for that same reason?
If I became like you and felt your pain and cried your tears and wore your frustrations; battled with the same desires and temptations that you struggle with; if I shared your joys and bore your sorrows all just to say “I understand, I know, I love you”, would you respond? Would you love me back?
If I chose to walk a path of obedience that meant vulnerability and weakness, pain and death, so that you and I might journey together in this life, and into life everlasting... would that be proof enough for you to know? To know that I love you?
If I rose from the dead and promised to stay with your always, to help you through the tough times, to encourage and guide you in loving and caring for this world, to break into your heart just so that every day I could whisper to you how much I love you? Would I hear an echo, would there be a faint reply? Even a meek response from you that said that you love me too?
God of love, let our echo be strong on this day especially. For of all days this is the day when we know without doubt your love for us.
We do love you. Help us to show our love – by the words of our mouths, in our prayers and our praise, by the deeds that we do. We will strive to give others our love, your love, as if giving it directly to you. By our efforts and with your help we will seek to surrender to your ways, to feel as you feel, to care as your care, and to love you with all our hearts, with all our minds, with all our souls, and with all our strength.
So that we might truly show that the echo you hope for is there. So that we might truly know your presence around the table and in our lives. So that we might truly say with great joy Alleluia Christ is risen. Amen