Tonight’s setting sun marks the end of Holy Week.
We have prepared for this over many days: some of us have undertaken disciplines of the spirit thoughout lent; over this weekend we have remembered, relived, re-enacted the days of Jesus’ suffering, death, and today we have marvelled at his resurrection.
Only this morning we told again the story of the discovery of the rolled stone and the empty linnen wrappings. Angels appeared and reminded the women of Jesus’ promise to ‘rise again’. Peter went home wondering what had ‘happened’
Yes, something had happened and around it gathered a community of people asking themselves and God what all this meant. From the very beginning the followers of Jesus saw these events as significant for the way they lived and died here and now.
So we have done more than simply remember the past. We have re-joined oursleves with God and the great story God has and is telling in Jesus. We have made this story our own.
Traditionally, this sacred time in the church’s calendar has been an opportunity for followers of Jesus to either prepare for baptism or to re-dedicate themselves to vows already taken. It is a time of commitment and focus on our mystical union with Jesus.
The Aplostle Paul, while writing to the Roman church, gave consideration to baptism. He described a uniting of our lives with that of Christ’s. The waters of baptism symbolise the reality that our lives are now hidden in, and joined to the life of Jesus. His fate and ours are one.
And it is a glorious fate indeed. As we have just heard: ‘…we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead, by the glory of the father, we too might walk in newness of life. For if we are unitied with him in his death, we will certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.’ (6:4-5). And only a little later: ‘The death he died, he died to sin, once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.’ (6:10-11).
Yes, we are a people alive to God. We are learning to live free, holy, and hopeful in the light of the risen Christ. In the resurrection we see more than God’s power in the past. Here we see God’s vision for the future – a glimpse of a resurrected creation that you and I are invited to live out today.
And what a wonder-filled life it is – a freedom not only from sin and death but a freedom to live with God. Because of Jesus’ life, suffering, death and resurrection, we are as free as when we were first created to present ourselves to God – instruments being tuned to ring out the song of heaven – God’s righteousness, justice, and grace – to all of creation.
God’s invitation this Easter Day is for us to embrace this hard won freedom anew. Amen.