Wednesday, April 16, 2014


I preach my first Easter sermon this Sunday.  It's kind of a milestone for preachers, the opportunity to put your own take on a 2000 year old story.  I know I'll one day approach the text with less fizzing energy, but now I find myself staring at screens and pads of paper, trying to find a way into the story.  It's harder than you'd think. 

Right now though, I find myself fixated on the fact that scripture tells us that Jesus rose from the dead before the dawn.  In the darkness and silence of a stone tomb, with no one around, Jesus unwound his graveclothes from his body.  And then?  He stepped out into the deep inky blue of night, alone.

We make so much of light, and day and dawn, don't we?  When people make big life changes, we say things like "It's a new day!"  Many Easter services happen at sunrise (with unfortunate punning to accompany them: Sunrise & Son-rise), drawing powerful metaphors about dawn into the resurrection.  It's pretty, I'll admit, to find so much inspiration from light and the possibilities of new days.

But the Resurrection, Easter....
They came in darkness.  In silence.  Before dawn.

I find so much peace in this.  That God could meet us, could meet me in the dark places of my existence, right in my deepest pain and quietly breathe life into me again.  That God did meet me when I was entombed in grief and helped to unwrap the linens of the grave from around me.

It was standing in the waves of the gulf that I finally released myself from the grave of my old life, my failed marriage.  But God had been meeting me, night after night, in the darkness, in the silence, not waiting for dawn to begin the process of my resurrection.  

Perhaps we should stop emphasizing dawn to each other, to ourselves.  Scripture calls us children of light, it's true.  But Genesis reminds us that God created the light AND the darkness and called them BOTH good.  The Christ child was born at night, his arrival heralded not by dawn but by bright evening stars.  And the Risen Christ took his first steps into the darkness that precedes dawn, our Living God revealed in twilight.  

If you are searching for your own Easter, for your own rebirth, your own healing, your own resurrection, do not be dismayed if dawn and daylight pass you by.  Take note, my friends, of what God is doing in the darkness that precedes the lightening of the skies.  Perhaps like Christ, God will breathe life into you while the Milky Way twinkles and blood moons rise.   Do not be afraid of the shadows, dear ones. There are many of us here, being healed in the stillness of night, removing the shrouds of our graves.  

May you find your own Easter, whether it comes in darkness or light.

1 comment:

Charlotte Coyle said...

So many beautiful real life connections to growth in the darkness: the seed in the soil, the child in the womb, the not-yet butterfly finding its way to new life in the deep night of the cocoon. Thank you for this. As always - wise and grace-full reflections.