Saint James Anglican Church

Joseph Howe Drive at the Armdale Rotary, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada             


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Easter 2007

 

"For this son of mine was dead and is alive again…" (Luke 15:24)

 

Part of the fun of "Antiques Road Show" is watching a person discover they have come into the possession of something of great value in an unexpected way. It's not just "hidden treasure" that turns up in unexpected places. Imagine finding a letter or post card from an old friend buried under all that clutter you are cleaning out of your basement or attic. Who wouldn't stop what they are doing, sit down on the floor, read the letter and re-live the memories it delivers. Consider a walk in the woods. There unexpectedly near the path is a beautiful "wild" flower. It is as lovely as a flower cultivated in a garden.

 

Each year people gather in churches of all types to celebrate Easter. One expects to hear about the empty tomb, the stone rolled away, the message that He is risen. However, one can find the message about resurrection and new life in unexpected places. The Gospels, for example, often foreshadow the resurrection of Christ with the life giving activities of Jesus during his ministry. The story of the young girl whom Jesus raises back to life from her sick bed is featured in Mark, Matthew and Luke. According to Luke, Jesus raises a boy back to life from his funeral procession. The miracle is an act of life giving justice and mercy for the boy's widowed mother. The raising of Lazarus in John's Gospel bears tremendous similarity to the resurrection of Jesus. The sign of Lazarus symbolizes new life in restored community. While these life-giving miracles are not the same as Christ's glorious resurrection, they anticipate Christ's resurrection by giving glory to God and hope to God's people.

 

One unexpected place in the gospel where the message of new life is found is in the story of "The Lost Son". The story itself is familiar enough. The young son receives his inheritance early but squanders it quickly. Returning home impoverished and in shame, he is welcomed as one who has returned from the dead. The prodigal is greeted with rejoicing and generosity. " For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found." The son literally lives again in a renewed restored relationship offered to him as a gift. Here we have an unexpected clue about the wider meaning of resurrection. The new life that we celebrate at Easter is one that touches every aspect of our being. We may await our joyful resurrection of the body; but new life comes to us in Christ here and now, to heal our hurts, salve our wounds, renew our broken relationships.

 

This Easter celebrate the news that Christ, who has been raised once and for all, lives in the midst of God's people. Afterwards, go into the world with hope. The offer of new life in Christ will cross your path in ways that you might not expect.

 

The Rev. Canon Rod Gillis

Passiontide & Easter 2007