Alleluia. Christ is risen. The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia.
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Why do you look for the living among the dead? The angels ask. Remember he told you he would be crucified - and in three days would rise again? Don’t you remember – because Jesus said it like 100 times when y’all were hanging out.
And slowly, I imagine, it begins to dawn on those women – Jesus did say he would rise again. So they run, probably still with some doubts in their hearts, to tell the guys. And the disciples think they are crazy – dismissing the women’s words as idle talk.
Why don’t any of the faithful followers remember what Jesus had been telling them all along?
Because resurrection is ridiculous and irrational. When you’re staring at death – when you’re surrounded by emptiness it is hard to see past that - to trust that God is up to something new. Until of course you’re standing on the other side.
I don’t mean the other side – as in – life after death. (Personally I’ve never stood there and would like to hold off on that for some time). But like you and me, these women are still in the land of the living. That’s what the angels point out. The women want to bring in a new day with old traditions – anointing the body, weeping and wailing at the tomb – acting as if death has had the final word. Why, the angels ask. Why would you want to do that? Remember what Jesus told you. Go be with the living – because death has dominion no more! Go - Share the news - tell the story. He is risen from the dead.
Six words. Jesus is risen from the dead. Those six words are the whole story.1 The alpha and the omega of how much God loves us, the world – how much God loves life – eternally – but also here and now.
There is a website dedicated to people sharing stories, their life story, in six words. It’s an online ezine called Smith. Their tagline is “One life. Six Words. What’s Yours?” And the site is dedicated to collecting these six word memoirs. Since the magazine launched there have been books, compilations of six word memoirs from the famous celebrities and everyday people (anyone can participate). As I was scrolling through the site I thought these memoirs were pretty good -
My diary is read by everyone. - Taylor Swift
The chef Mario Batalli wrote – Brought to a boil, quite often.
Stephen Colbert – Well, I thought it was funny.
The idea for this endeavor came from an old writer’s tale. Ernest Hemingway supposedly was once challenged to write a story in six words and he came up with something extraordinarily poignant,
For sale. Baby shoes. Never worn.
As I was scrolling through the many, many submissions from the not-famous, every day people the one that struck resonated – given where we are is - The exits were entrances in disguise.
The women, the disciples can’t see beyond the exit. They think they have come to the end of the story and it’s over. They believed Jesus had lost. And the political powers of their time had the last violent word yet again. In their grief and disappointment who could blame them for not trusting, what Jesus had said? Who can blame us? It can be hard to see past the political powers of our time and the violence in our day – to believe that God will make a way. And that the way of the cross – the way of love – will triumph in the end.
There’s a joke that might be heard in various churches this morning. The preacher gets into the pulpit and begins by saying – so as I was saying on Christmas Eve….
The new beginning stories of God breaking into the world – they will forever be the ones that bring us together – because we so want them to be made real. And the way God breaks into the world is as crazy as the way God breaks out of it. And the agents of God – the angels – say the same in both. To the terrified shepherds – and to the terrified women – don’t be scared – this isn’t the end it’s just the beginning. Go and tell the good news. Go it’s up to you – to let people know of God. God breaks in and breaks out – our job is to go and tell.
So how do these six words – Jesus is risen from the dead – make a difference in your life? Do they? Do you want them to? Because I know you’ve seen – I know you’ve experienced a new beginning when you thought you’d reached the end.
Asking myself this question this week and inspired by the 6-word memoir here’s what I came up with:
Found by love again and again.
I don’t mean romantic love. I mean God as in God is love. So why not just say – Found by God again and again. Because that idea of God – let’s face it – is abstract. As if God is separate and apart from us, outside of you and me. But if there is anything the whole story of Jesus shows us – is that God’s love is made real in Christ.
The God who would share our human nature – live and die as one of us? That’s love.
The God who would walk to a cross for a world like ours? That’s love.
The God who returns to his disciples the ones who abandoned, to say – Beloved, you are forgiven? That’s love.
The God who takes every exit – every closed door – every loss I’ve ever known – and loves me through to a new beginning. The God who takes every disaster – every act of hatred – every act of violent destruction and shows all of us that is not the end. That is Love. Out of death there is always new life – because death never has the final word. Love does.
And that love – that new life – that moment or process of resurrection doesn’t happen by magic. It happens through the hearts and hands and feet of people like you and me – living and bringing, sometimes literally carrying, the good news of love into our world.
Love is what draws us to God – and shows us that we are God’s. I could say - Found by hope, joy, peace, gratitude, kindness, patience, forgiveness, courage, faith again and again – you could replace Love with any of those words – but – as Paul famously writes to the Corinthians – while all those things abide – the greatest of all these – is – love.
Despite their fear – love brings the women to that tomb in the early dawn. And despite their doubts – love is what ultimately propels the disciples to live the truth of a story we continue – a story the first believers thought was just idle talk.
And it certainly can be. Resurrection is as empty as that tomb – if it’s only a statement in a creed. Resurrection is only full of life when we live it. When we allow those words – Jesus is risen from the dead – to shape, inspire and write the story of our lives here and now. So go – and find it. Go and be it. Share the good news story – Love always wins. No matter what.
Alleluia Christ is risen. The Lord is risen indeed.
 With much thanks to the Rev. Cathie Caimano for her essay on this topic!