Wednesday, July 05, 2006

COlumn Based on Easter Sunday Sermon

It is never easy to turn a 15 minute sermon into a 500 word column. Even less so to do it 2.5 months after the fact when you don't have a manuscript to look back at. But the thoughts I shared on Easter Sunday are ones I think the town needs to hear (and so I was told back in April). I think they are worth a wider sharing too.
Living from Saturday Into Sunday

The earliest ending of our earliest gospel (Mark 16:1-8) is striking. The women go to the garden, see the empty tomb, talk to the angel, and flee home in utter fear. There is no vision of the Risen Christ, there is no joy. The women have not yet lived into Sunday.

That is the secret of being Resurrection people. We have to be willing to take the next step, to live into Sunday. Friday is a day of sadness, as we remember execution and pain. Sunday is a day of joy, as we remember empty tomb and new life. But most of us live much of our lives on Saturday, somewhere between sadness and joy, between death and new life. Living on Saturday puts us in a time of uncertainty, anxiety, and worry. Living on Saturday is a place of fear, not knowing how, or if, we can move forward. Atikokan has been living on Saturday for 25 years, ever since the mines closed. Maybe we should look for evening to fall and the sunrise of Sunday.

Our challenge then, is how do we live into Sunday? How do put the fear and anxiety behind and get to the new life? Well, in some ways we don’t. Part of making that journey lies in our openness to not control where it goes. We don’t get to shape what resurrected life looks like. And often, if not always, it will not be going back to where we once were. Resurrection is not resuscitation. It is new life, not a return to the old. Only when we let go of our hope that one last shock will get the old life beating again are we ready to find the new life waiting.

But there is something else we need to do. Saturday time is there so that we can mourn. We can’t jump straight from cross to empty tomb. We need to name and deal with the feelings of fear, anxiety and loss. Yes that is hard and uncomfortable work. But when we try to avoid it we never find ourselves facing Sunday’s dawn. We have to name that Atikokan of 2006 is not the Atikokan of 1966. That town is gone. Only when we accept that reality (which is also part of not looking for resuscitation) can our eyes be opened for a new vision. In looking back over the last year I am sure that this town, as a whole, has not done any of the grief work over the mines closing. We haven’t used our Saturday time well. It is time to let go.

And when we let go, then what? I don’t know. It would be foolish to predict. You see one of the glorious things about resurrection is that it usually surprises us. It doesn’t happen according to our plan. But if we are open and watchful and welcoming it will come. This is our hope, this is our promise. Are we ready to live into Sunday?

1 comment:

  1. Thank you Gord, I needed to read this today