“You need to die if you want to live with me,” Jesus says to his disciples and to us, but most of us are not too sure that we want to follow that advice. 

This is a difficult teaching but if we pay attention to the Easter story we’ll see that what looks like the end is only the beginning. You know Yogi Berra’s famous proverb about the game of baseball, “It aint over ’til it’s over.” Christian faith however proclaims that when it’s over that’s when God begins.  What looked like the end of the Jesus movement in Galilee turned out to be the beginning of a new way of life not just for his followers but for the entire world.

The really interesting part of that first Easter is how quiet it was. Jesus was dead.  That was the only thought in the minds of the disciples. The shouts of joy on Palm Sunday had turned to shouts of crucifixion on Thursday. His life ended on Friday with a cry of pain upon his lips, “My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?”

And we know about that cry don’t we? All of us will feel Godforsaken at some point in our lives.  Each of us will have to deal with the abandonment that comes with human life but, like it or not, that is part of the deal that comes with being alive. Abandonment, being forsaken and death are the beginning points for resurrection. This is not comfortable to realize but this is where God begins new life.

That is a hard truth to face.  Sometimes we long for the way things used to be. However, that longing for a time gone by can be dangerous.  The resurrection is God’s way of getting our attention, of forcing us to sit up and take notice of how God is at work in the world. Peter Gomes said that “Easter is confrontational.” He’s right. It’s about stirring us out of our doldrums, out of our nostalgia for yesterday (a yesterday that exists only in our imaginations) and moving us into today.

So, get ready for Easter.  Find the right dress, the perfect tie, the best place for a nice brunch and then prepare for God to do something new.  It’s about new life; new life today and tomorrow and eternity.

Grace and peace to you,