We have come to the Easter Dawn!
Sure, the actual dawn isn’t for another 10 or 12 hours, but that’s a technicality.
We have come to the dawn of our Savior’s resurrection.
Through the Lenten journey - 40 days and nights to acknowledge the brokenness of our world and of our own lives, to acknowledge the need for repentance and turning back to God; through the three days of Maundy Thursday with it’s reminder of Christ’s Greatest Commandment to love one another, Good Friday with the agony of Christ’s suffering on the cross, and the Vigil of readings and songs and prayers that began tonight’s worship and reminded us of God’s faithfulness and love throughout all time.
And more. We have come through our life journeys to arrive here at the resurrection; our life journeys, with all that they hold of happiness and sorrow, grief and unexpected joy. We have come bearing the happiness and sorrows of the world as well – the promise of children being born mixed with the cries of hunger from children underfed and malnourished; the amazing hope of new earthquake resistant homes built through Lutheran Disaster Response in places like Nepal, showing what cooperative efforts for good can accomplish, and the brutal reality of too much of the world’s financial resources held in too few hands, and the bickering of politicians, and the power-mongering.
With all of this and more we arrive to this dawning of the resurrection.
It’s hard to believe that we’re really here, finally here. Ok, so dawn is actually in 10-12 hours, but the resurrection celebration, the resurrection reality is here, is now.
It’s hard to believe what God in Christ has accomplished and is accomplishing. No wonder Mary didn’t recognize the risen Christ whom she so longed to see. With the struggles she had been through the promises of Christ had been forgotten.
It was hard for Mary and it can be and sometimes is hard for us to believe that this is real; that Christ has and will triumph over the sin and the grave.
But like the children’s tale of the Velveteen Rabbit, in which a toy dearly loved is transformed at the end of its stuffed life into a real and true and floppy eared bunny that hops away with the other real bunnies to live happily ever after in the forest, we have been brought by the grace and mercy and faith of God in Jesus Christ, planted and grown and harvested in us, to see what is truly real:
That Christ our Lord and Savior is risen this Easter. The fifty-day Feast of the Resurrection has begun!
Where we once remembered ashes and grief we now remember that the power of God in Christ will, at the last, conquer all grief and vanquish all sorrow and take these ashes and dry bones and make them live again - truly live in a life that makes us realize we were only stuffed rabbits before.
Like Mary, our Savior will take our hand and call us by name and when we look up we will know we are home. We are real. This Light, that even now breaks in upon the world to birth goodness and compassion and forgiveness and mercy and love for one another; this Light is holding us and will ultimately carry us home.
We are home and we will be home.
The resurrection is real.
Our Savior Jesus the Christ lives and so we, too, live, made new by the power of Christ in the cross, made new for this Easter Dawn.