theunfamiliarname

Homily for Easter Day 2010

In Uncategorized on April 5, 2010 at 8:49 am

Once upon a time.
Or rather, “in the beginning”.
There was a garden.

So begins the human story in the mythic language and imagery of Genesis.
Eden, the garden where humankind is planted,
together with the tree of life,
and the tree of the knowledge of good and evil,
and every other kind of tree.

It is no coincidence that we find ourselves back in a garden this morning.
John the gospel writer does not tell us this detail by accident.
John’s Gospel is crammed full of significant symbolism.

It is no small detail that we are in the garden
nor that Mary thinks she’s speaking with the gardener.
The Gospel writer chooses this palette very carefully,
painting his picture,
telling us not just what happened,
but what it means.

What might it mean to be in the garden?
What might it mean to call out to the gardener himself?
What might it mean for his reply to speak Mary’s name
and in that single moment be known?

The story of the Resurrection happens at dawn.
The dawn of a new day, the first of a new week.
The dawn of a new creation.
The dawn of a new story.

The Cross, the brutal tree of death,
the tree of knowing and choosing evil,
has become in this garden the tree of life.
We are, if we can make sense of it, “redeemed”.
Bought and brought back
to where we might rediscover the possibility
of our new story being different from the old.

Old habits, old hurts, old hates
can be discarded with the graveclothes if we dare to believe it might be so.
And death and grief and fear shall have no dominion.

That does not mean there will not be Good Friday’s,
and Oamaru has known a very dark Good Friday indeed this year,
but that is not where the story ends.
God always has another word to speak.
Even when humanity turns away,
making decisions inexplicably evil or awful;
when life is lost senselessly or so sadly;
when potential is extinguished…
God in Jesus Christ would speak another word.

A name, tender enough to call us from our grief,
to open our tearful, blurry eyes.
A name, loud enough to call beyond the years that were
and that might have been,
beyond the deep waters of death itself.

The Name, Love, the God who is
and wills that we are.
And would have us live forever
in the undying power of that Love.

Love does not shy away from hurt:
it redeems it.
Light does not succumb to darkness:
it transfigures.

It’s in dark places that we most know and need
the light of this new day,
the alleluia upon our lips,
that speaks to us of a life and love
that cannot be silenced, buried or destroyed.

Because Christ lives, we live also.
And while we claim that in joy today,
we do so in the faith that that will resonate throughout us,
for all our days,
in life, in death, in life beyond death.

Once upon a time,
God saw everything that God had made, and indeed it was very good.
We are this day God’s new Creation, on this first day of the week.

And if a new Creation,
then we are somehow different from the old.
Something has happened in us
that means we are no longer who we were.
Or perhaps more accurately,
we have the potential to be what we were not before.
We are imbued with all the potential that we ever had and more.

How then will we live (in such a brave new world)?

Christ is risen.  He is risen indeed!  Alleluia!

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