The two main stories of the Christian life, here we are: Christmas and Easter. These stories juxtapose nicely. In one, we are like proud parents or grandparents cooing over the little baby Jesus, no crying he makes. And then there is Easter… Houston, we have a problem. Dead people are supposed to remain dead, and preferably where you left them. Although the surprise has worked its way out of the story due to familiarity; can you imagine what this was like the first morning? It seems happy now, but I imagine that for the original disciples this was absolutely terrifying.

I think about the fearful disciples, losing Jesus twice. In 2004, I was deployed to Gulfport, MS after hurricane Katrina. Because of the timing of when I was sent, we were identifying remains from coffins that had washed out due to the high waters. These families were faced with so much devastation, but then they were also losing their deceased loved ones all over again. Easter is definitely a happy time for us, but for the disciples? Sometimes, there is no amount of saying “do not fear” that works. In their minds, they lost Jesus twice.

As we enter this Eastertide, the season of Easter, remember that the season of Easter last 50 days, all the way to Pentecost. We get to live into the moments. In that sense, we are somewhat like the disciples. It takes us time to process, just as it took some time for them to process what had happened. Jesus came to conquer or bring us out of, or above our ways of sin and death-dealing, but no doubt it took time and multiple appearances. I’m sure on that first morning, even if frightening, it helped to see the burial cloth and hear the men/ angels/ voices, ask the women, “why do you look for the living among the dead.”? For us, it helps tremendously to know the whole story. And each additional resurrection story helps. The disciples, they were just working it out. Familiarity and the peace that passes understanding are perhaps the only things that combat fear and lack of understanding.

I invite you to live into the resurrection story with all its familiarity, combatting all fear as you live accompanied by God. Let God be your first thought, your best companion, so as to let God raise you as God raised Jesus, above all sin and death-dealing ways. When God is your best companion, there is no reason to look for the living among the dead, because you know that life is all around, beckoning you forth to live as truly you as possible.

Over the years, I have been the recipient of many books from parishioners, although lately, there has been an uptick, and a couple recently gave me a book which is a collection of essays, One Long River of Song by Brian Doyle. There is short essay in there called “On All Souls Day” in which the author ponders his own inevitable death. Doyle ponders, “Can you chat with death, is that possible? … It’s more like your death is a part of your life, right?” Although whether the author is explicitly Christian is not clear to me, in my limited reading thus far, he reflects a lightness that comes when fear is put in the back seat. I’m not saying anyone here is old, but most of us are at least in the second half of our lives. And we too will die, and we too will rise, because we are already rising as we live into the familiarity of living without fear, living with God. The prospect may sound scary, but be not afraid. We all rise and if we pay attention to Jesus’ message throughout his life, death, and resurrection, we all rise as we also help others rise.


“Still I Rise

“You may write me down in history
With your bitter, twisted lies,
You may trod me in the very dirt
But still, like dust, I’ll rise….

Leaving behind nights of terror and fear
I rise
Into a daybreak that’s wondrously clear
I rise
Bringing the gifts that my ancestors gave,
I am the dream and the hope of the slave.
I rise
I rise
I rise.”

You are part of this resurrection. We all rise. So let’s stand up now, as you are able, of course and rise, now. Help others rise, you will rise to your full stature of Christ, as familiar as your truest self. The best you that there is, with God as your first thought and best companion, because Jesus showed us how to rise; we rise in love. Christ became the first fruits so that we can taste the first fruits, and the first fruits were always LOVE. So Christ is risen, …. He is risen indeed.
Sarah Colvin

Isaiah 65:17-25
1 Corinthians 15:19-26
Luke 24:1-12
Psalm 118:1-2, 14-24