Well friends here we are, celebrating Easter, the pinnacle of the church year.
But given the ongoing pandemic and more lockdowns, we still aren’t able to celebrate in the traditional ways we cherish. More significantly, when we exclaim our hallelujahs and proclaim that Christ is risen, we do so in the shadow of the 2.8 million people we’ve lost worldwide to Covid-19. We celebrate the empty tomb in the wake of mass unemployment and food and financial insecurity; a deepening crisis of pandemic-induced loneliness, depression, and anxiety; and the ongoing scourge of racial tension, violence, and injustice in our communities and institutions.
So where is Easter’s good news this year? Where is the wonder and beauty in the world amidst its pain and brokenness? It is here. Here in this online sacred space where we can find hope and even joy by being together – even if physically apart. It’s in money raised for the Mission and Service Fund and a certain bunny costume – but it’s also behind the laughter and fun that spurred that on and the incredible commitment of this faith community to raise over $2000 in just two weeks. And it’s found once again in the Easter story. After the great success of our virtual Christmas pageant, I wanted to bring you something different this year. So, the idea of a virtual Easter pageant came to be. This morning Parkminster families and friends bring to life the Easter story while also vulnerably asking: “Where is the good news?” Where is it in the Easter story – and where is it in our world?
We know from the stories of the four Gospels that the frightened silence of the women on Easter morning eventually gave way to proclamation. Their alarm subsided, their courage deepened, and their amazement increased. They learned how to choose hope. They learned how to make the story their own, and as they did, the story blossomed and grew. Joy came. Faith came. Peace came. Love came. And slowly, the Easter story made its way from their emboldened lips to others until it spread and kept spreading. The story changed them, and as they changed, the world around them changed, too. The Easter story changes us as well.
Perhaps this morning, you’re feeling overwhelmed by the bad news of the world and it’s hard to take in Easter’s joy. Or perhaps you are clinging desperately to the message of hope and good news because it’s what you need to hear in your heart. No matter where you come into the Easter story this morning, take it in slowly and savor it. We need to savor life right now, even as the future feels precarious and uncertain.
So, when you can, as you can, hear these words of hope again: ““Do not be alarmed! You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, the One who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here.”
I want to thank everyone who has brought our Easter pageant to life this morning. Thank you for your time, your creativity, your enthusiasm, and commitment to make this happen. Thank you to those who helped behind the scenes, filming the videos, boosting audio, and adding captions to ensure that the videos were ready to share with all of you.
Hear the good news friends. Easter blessings to you all.