Where have you taken him? This week has been hard enough! Where have you taken him, why isn't he here? This is just ridiculous, we only just put him in the tomb yesterday, how can someone have taken him away already? I just want to be close to him again, to share stories again, to hear, see, touch, be healed by him again. I wish we could go back to thursday, all sitting around that table together, sharing a meal- enjoying our company. I miss Jesus, its hard to know what will happen to us now that hes dead. We know that Rome thinks we are irrelevant now- the problem was taken care of at the cross. Where have you taken him! Then out of the darkness that surrounds us, we hear a voice say “Why are you Crying?” Who is it you’re looking for?
Who is it you are looking for?
The week we have walked together has truly been a holy week. We arrived with much pomp and excitement shouting hosannas at the start of the week, gathering in the upper room for Eucharist on the opening evening of General Synod, waiting, praying, wondering in vigil as the work of Synod moved along, walking, wailing, listening, witnessing, the incredible inhumanity of the cross on Friday, as we took down the body, cleaned up the wounds, and prepared it for burial, our tears and lament too strong for words. The church is dead, they’ll say. We are no longer relevant, They'll say. How much longer do we need to hear our children cry, we heard as the night turned into day and the world became very still as we waited in vigil for the new light of Easter to dawn upon us to break down the doors of death and bring new life in the midst of incredible pain, hurt, desolation, trauma, and fear. But I still wish we were back in the upper room, sharing a meal. I still wish, like Mary, to be able to hear Jesus again, to feel his touch on my shoulder, to feel the power of his presence next to me.
Who is it you are looking for?
John's account of the Easter moment is an interesting one, because it speaks to both the doubt of what easter is- this can’t actually be true, can it?!- and the sheer surprise at what is now reality. Notice the disciples who go to the tomb first to see Jesus, they see an empty tomb but they do not understand the power of what just happened. There is no rejoicing or joy in their return to the group- they just went home- this can’t be true. Now think about the reaction Mary had, her gut wrenching “Where have you laid him!” and the joy with which she goes running back to the others when see is called by name, screaming “I have seen the Lord!” There are two places which mark this as not just an important moment for us, but bring light to the changed reality of what we are becoming. First, Jesus calls Mary by name- just as he calls you and I by name as we approach the tomb. In our wanting, waiting, questioning, unsureness, of what this life with Jesus is meant to be, Jesus calls us by name- a voice we recognize even if it feels faint or distant right now- Jesus calls us by name. Second, death has no more power over us. The bandages which we wrapped the body of Jesus, full of our lament, hopes, dreams, wishes, desires, aspirations for the life we are to live with Jesus, no longer hamper the body. Unlike when Lazarus was raised, and his body was still covered in grave bandages making it hard to walk, the bandages do not hold back Jesus- they are still in the tomb. Christ is risen into the freedom of new life, of love, of presence. But nothing will be the same again.
Who is it you are looking for?
The resurrection affords us the chance to sit in the unknown, the challenge, the fear, the darkness of the tomb, while peering in with wonder not really knowing what is going on before us. Thats not because we are stupid, we can visibly see that there is a death. However, from the tomb Christ has called us all of us to new life- life which is starting all around of us. We have elected our first female primate. We have welcomed, honoured, installed, and blessed, the first indigenous Archbishop of the newly self determining Indigenous Church within the Anglican Church of Canada. We elected a female prolecutor, and a female indigenous deputy-prolecutor- The senior leadership team of the church are women- Thanks be to God! We stood as witness to the apology of our primate to the indigenous people of this land for the Spiritual Harm we inflicted on them, in our arrogance. We have heard of the important work our foundations are doing around the church, and the work yet to be realized in our commitment to reconciliation from the TRC. This synod is not over, this story is not written yet. Death does not win over love. God is not done yet, and this church is not finished. We are only just beginning.
It’s no wonder why Jesus tells us not to hold onto him, but tells us to go out and tell the world about what we have seen. Jesus is alive! Jesus lives! And he is not done with us yet. Will we be shaped by our wounds as a church, or by the hope of the wounds which Christ bore for us on the cross? Christ shows us the truth of our lives today, to be beacons of love in the midst of the chaos, to stand up and proclaim the truth that we know- Jesus is alive, death cannot hold us back anymore, and that God is still at work within who and what we are becoming.
Who are you looking for, we are asked this morning. I am looking for Jesus, the Jesus who sat with those the world rejected, with those we forget, with those we walk past, with those whose lives are touched by the healing new life of the cross and tomb. I am looking for Jesus. Go from this place, my friends, telling the truth of your life, and show the world that Jesus is alive. Share what you have seen, heard, felt, and witnessed, in the midst of a church learning to become itself, in the midst of a world hungry to know it belongs. And share the truth we know: Love can no longer be stopped by death. God is looking for you, God calls you by name, God loves you beyond your wildest imagination.
This is the message of Easter today: you belong, you are home, you are loved, God seeks you to be with you in Jesus. Every single one of us- no exceptions. How will you share that with your life this week?