Friends, as I prepared for today, again the leadership of the students of Stoneman Douglas High School was on my heart and mind and I pondered how to make sense of all that in the events that we have remembered here and in our Church Universal during Holy Week and today on Easter Sunday. As I have said earlier, on Good Friday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday are really about “dying and rising” –they are of a piece. Dying only makes sense in the context of rising. We see it in Jesus’ life—if there had only been the dying and nothing more, we would have been truly let down. He said, he would be with us always and proved it in the resurrection.
Our country has been inspired anew in the leadership of the Stoneman Douglas High School survivors, become leaders—out of death, which has been a magnificent “rising.” I believe it is significant that the victims at Stoneman Douglas were taken on February 14th, the national day of love, also, Ash Wednesday this year and that we would be celebrating Jesus’ overcoming death, in all its forms on Easter Sunday, which this year falls on April 1st, April Fool’s Day—in all of this, we might ask, who was actually fooled? Since the February 14th shootings, we have marveled at the “rising out of death,” as it were that we have seen from the Parkland, Florida students and from students and others around the world.
When we think about Jesus’ resurrection, we realize it to be a mystery that we can’t get our heads around—again, this is something to lay on our hearts. We are told in the Gospel account from John today that Jesus in his risen form was not automatically recognizable—he didn’t look the same—Mary of Magdala knew him only when he spoke her name in the way that only Jesus could say it. In another Easter reading, the disciples on the way to Emmaus who found themselves walking with Jesus didn’t know him until, “he broke bread with them,” something we are told, he did with his followers often—they knew him after the resurrection, through his actions.
Before the Valentine’s Day massacre, as it has been called, the ordinary students of Stoneman Douglas appeared a certain way to their friends and families. The mystery surrounding yet another school shooting, too many at that point to remember, brought forth the inner strength, fortitude and goodness of these young people to know that if the change they so wanted was to happen, they would have to bring it about! Truly a resurrection moment!
Friends, our faith, given us at our baptisms, strengthened in our confirmations, calls each of us to be resurrected, here and now, with Jesus our brother—we don’t need to wait until our physical deaths to become this Easter people –now is the time! Paul tells us to get rid of the “old yeast” –the bakers among us know the truth of this—a new fresh batch is needed to make us “rise” to our innate greatness, like Jesus, like our Stoneman Douglas leaders –to do our piece for the good of us all, wherever we are led.
Easter is not just for today—but every day! Amen? Amen! Alleluia!