Easter Day: Luke 24:1-12

Sadao Watanabe, "The morning of the resurrection", 1964
But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb, taking the spices that they had prepared. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in, they did not find the body. While they were perplexed about this, suddenly two men in dazzling clothes stood beside them. The women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, "Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again." Then they remembered his words, and returning from the tomb, they told all this to the eleven and to all the rest. Now it was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them who told this to the apostles. But these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. But Peter got up and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; then he went home, amazed at what had happened.

On this Easter morning, with the earth green from yesterday's rain, and the breeze carrying warmer hints of spring, it is hard not to feel like creation itself is pushing us to see resurrection around us. I left home this morning shortly after the start of sunrise. As I drove west toward church, I could see a rich pink sky in my rear view mirror, and I thought to myself, "How lovely that Easter morning could begin with such a beautiful sky." For Easter is always about morning and daybreak after the darkness of night, and about seeing in the world hints of new creation. On this morning, when creation itself sings the praise of the resurrected Christ, I turn to the words of the poet Mary Oliver:
Every morning
the world
is created.
Under the orange

sticks of the sun
the heaped
ashes of the night
turn into leaves again

and fasten themselves to the high branches ---
and the ponds appear
like black cloth
on which are painted islands

of summer lilies.
If it is your nature
to be happy
you will swim away along the soft trails

for hours, your imagination
alighting everywhere.
And if your spirit
carries within it

the thorn
that is heavier than lead ---
if it's all you can do
to keep on trudging ---

there is still
somewhere deep within you
a beast shouting that the earth
is exactly what it wanted ---

each pond with its blazing lilies
is a prayer heard and answered
every morning,

whether or not
you have ever dared to be happy,
whether or not
you have ever dared to pray.

"Morning Poem," from Dream Work (1986) by Mary Oliver
Christ is risen! He is risen, indeed! Alleluia, alleluia! Thanks be to God!

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