Easter Sunday Zoom Reflection Text

Date: Easter Sunday 2020 Zoom Reflection
Scripture: Mark 16:1-8, 9-20
Pastor: Rev. Kim P. Wells

This version of the Easter story ends in fear. The women flee. They are shocked. They have
no idea what to make of this. They are in the middle of it and it is unprecedented. They cannot make meaning from this.

Yet. But in our Bibles there is more to the story. After time passed, as people reflected and
discussed, a short ending was added to the gospel of Mark.

Read Mark 16:9. The shorter ending.

So, we are told that the message was shared. But we are only given a general conclusion.
Broad strokes.

As more time went on, and there was more reflection and discussion, new circumstances were unfolding, as people carried on with their lives in new ways, they began to see something more emerging, so they found new words to convey their experience.

We live by the stories we tell. So the original story that has come down to us from the Gospel of Mark was given a longer ending. It was completed. As we have it today.

Read Mark 9-20.

Sometimes when you are in the midst of something it is hard to see what the something is. It is confusing to make sense of it. You can’t pull back to get a better perspective or to see more clearly because you are in the middle. So you can’t take in the whole situation. Even many years after historical events, historians and scholars still find new meaning and understandings of things that happened long ago.

So, we are in the midst of this coronavirus pandemic. We can’t see the whole picture. The
story is still unfolding. We haven’t gotten to the end of the season let alone the series as a
whole. We haven’t read the epilogue. We don’t know what the outcomes will be. There may be many endings added to this story.

But there are some things we know.

The date for Easter is set according to the phases of the moon. Easter is the first Sunday after the first full moon after the vernal equinox. Yes, I know, it almost sounds like astrology! But the date for Easter is set according to the moon. And what a moon it was this week. We ogled the gorgeous, HUGE pink super moon. I got up in the middle of the night and thought someone had left a light on somewhere in the house, it was so bright inside. I looked around. No lights on. It was all of the light coming in the windows from that amazing moon!

The moon is reflecting its glorious light. Birds are astir building nests and hatching eggs. Plants are coming back to activity. Pollen fills the air. Butterflies are emerging from cocoons. In the pictures that people from the congregation sent in to show what they have been seeing and doing during this time of shelter-in-place, many of you sent in pictures of nature – glorious and thriving. Life flourishing in its many forms – plant and animal.

Scientist tell us that since the decrease in human activity due to the coronavirus, the air is
cleaner and the water is clearer. I think of the words to the hymn based on the Canticle of the Sun St. Francis of Assisi, “Your flowing waters, crystal clear, make melodies for you to hear.”

While humans are struggling and our activities are restricted, nature is thriving in glory!

So, we remember the words from the book of Job: “But ask the animals, and they will teach
you; the birds of the air, and they will tell you; ask the plants of the earth, and they will teach
you; and the fish of the sea will declare to you.”

Easter is in the spring so that we will be stirred by the glories of nature. This is even more
conspicuous in more temperate climes where new life emerges from the dormancy of the cold of winter. But even here, in our ever warming tropical climate, we will see the natural world coming alive, and we witness again that life is stronger death.

The power of the love of God cannot be extinguished. It cannot be contained. It cannot be
subdued. The image of Jesus released from the tomb, out of the ultimate lockdown, expresses that love prevails. New live, thriving, vibrant, transformational is loose in the world. The energy, passion and power of love is stronger than death.

For those early followers of Jesus, life was never the same after Easter. And we tell their story each year to remind ourselves that our lives, too, have been transformed. We, too, live with in a new world – a world rooted in love. A world of community, interdependence, and mutuality. A world in which life in all its forms is treated with reverence and respect. A world in which death does not have the last word. Even the thousands upon thousands of deaths left in the wake pandemic. Even the COVID-019 cannot stop the transforming power of love. Some even suggest this crisis is moving us toward a more compassionate, just world. Yes, in the designs of God good can come even from the most devastating tragedy. Love truly does win.

So, How the Grinch Stole Christmas has always been one of my favorite Christmas stories. As I have been imaging how to celebrate Easter on lockdown, I have been thinking about the story of the Grinch. There is that scene toward the end of the book when the Grinch, who has removed every material vestige of Christmas from Whoville and returned to his mountain with the spoils hears, what does he hear? Singing? So, here’s my Easter version of a part of Dr. Seuss’s beloved classic:

The virus hasn’t stopped Easter from Coming!
It came!
Somehow or other, it came just the same!
It came without baskets! It came without grass!
It came without bunnies, lilies, or brass!
Yes, Easter, we know, doesn’t come from a store
Yes, Easter, we know, means a whole lot more!

Happy Easter to us all!

Christ is risen. Christ is risen indeed!

Author: Rev. Wells

Pastor of Lakewood United Church of Christ since 1991. Graduate of Wellesley College and Union Theological Seminary of New York.

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