Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams was visiting Trinity Wall Street on the morning of September 11, 2001. Because Trinity is very close to the World Trade Center, he and a number of others were caught basically underground when the towers came down. There was a moment when they were all going to lead the children from Trinity’s preschool to a place of safety, and adults were paired up with little children, either taking them by the hand or holding them. Just before they set off on their dark passage, he prayed that they might see Christ in, and be Christ for, all whom they would meet on their way.
Of all the dramatic events of that first Easter morning, as told by John, I am particularly struck by Mary’s moment of recognition. Mary and the others see the empty tomb, but, at first, they do not realize that an empty tomb is good news.
Mary stands alone outside of the tomb, weeping.
She then sees someone whom she believes to be a gardener, who asks her why she is weeping. Still not recognizing him, she asks if he is the one who removed Jesus’ body. He explains nothing but only says her name, “Mary!” and in that moment she understands all that she needs to know.
Sometimes we come to Easter looking for a cosmic answer, or a theological solution to the hardest problems of the universe, but at the core of the Easter story is the gift of a relationship. God in Christ is not a remote God who looks down from the clouds, but is a face standing right before us, waiting for us to behold.
When we say that Christ is alive, we are not talking about a mere miracle that happened two millennia ago. We are talking about something that changes everything about this moment as well.
In spite of the darkness that has come upon our world with this current crisis, the face of Christ is before us, and it is radiant. To know that the Lord is risen involves stepping into relationship with the risen Lord—to receive the love that Christ offers at this moment, and to share that love with others.
The resurrection is something not merely to behold, but to live into. I pray that as we move forward from this glorious Easter Day and into the days and weeks ahead, which will surely challenge us all, that we will see Christ in, and be Christ for, all whom we meet on the way.
Alleluia, Christ is risen!
The Lord is risen indeed, Alleluia!
The Rev. Rob Fisher
Appointed readings for today: