On the Monday following Easter, I was in my office trying to catch up from the whirlwind of Holy Week. The church office was busy with attending to Easter details like attendance data from the Holy Week services, filing bulletins, and recording the names from the communion cards. I uploaded a few photos onto the website from the morning’s service. Leftover communion elements were waiting to be taken to our homebound members. I went to the church for something and when I walked in the sanctuary it still smelled sweetly from the hyacinths and lilies. In short, Easter was still all around me.
Yet, Easter quickly becomes yesterday’s news in today’s fast paced world with a 24-hour news cycle. My newsfeed on Yahoo shared the stories that show how quickly we move on to bigger and better things. The headlines included stories on Donald Trump’s run for presidency. There were troubling accounts of the Syrian government’s brutal crack- down on protesters. There were many news reports about all the flooding and tornadoes besetting regions of our country. And of course, topping the news coverage was the Royal Wedding of Kate and Will. Where will they honeymoon? And we learned that there will not be a kiss during the wedding. As the Archbishop of Canterbury and dean of Westminster Cathedral put it, “we don’t do that in a Church of England wedding. That’s a Hollywood sort of thing.” And then there is Kate’s dress…what will it look like? We do pick up and go on as though Easter was just another story that caught our attention, and then faded into another attention getting story.
It seems that 2000 years later, the Easter story has lost some of its power to amaze and shock us. After all, Easter happens every year, doesn’t it? We must never allow ourselves to become jaded, to lose the ability to marvel at the astounding good news: He is Alive! As Christians, our primary duty is to do just what Mary Magdalene did upon seeing the Risen Christ, to go and tell others. Easter is never yesterday’s news to us. It is just as fresh, just as transforming, and just as miraculous as in the garden on that long ago first Easter morning.
This year was my seventh Easter sunrise service at Fairview Cemetery. In those seven years the weather has varied widely from being so cold I couldn’t feel my fingers to the balmy spring morning we had this Easter. But I never tire of driving to the site and seeing witnesses already gathered there before daybreak; lawn chairs set up, blankets and thermoses at the ready. We greet each other in the ancient acclamation, He is Risen! Even though we do it every year, it never fails to thrill me. It is always brand new.
Martin Niemoller said, “Easter is not part of the old order, or of the ordered world in which we live, but it is an absolutely new, unexpected act of the living God, which interrupts and runs counter to the world’s rhythm. Here we have the beginning of something new.”
Resurrection is still the biggest news of all. Even bigger than Kate and Will’s wedding! Easter Sunday is the first day of all our days, forever fresh, forever brand new.