Glaedelig paaske! Happy Easter!
Once again: Christ is risen
Indeed, he is risen. Hallelujah!
Indeed, he is risen. Hallelujah!
What a beautiful day it is. The church greets us in all its white splendor, the grounds beam with flowers and green and the sun: the sun sends rays of sunshine from the heavens here to us today.
What a beautiful day it is. The words from the Gospel greets us in all its mystery and glory, and the rays of hope from heaven warms us. We sing, we rejoice, and we enjoy the beautiful music of Easter.
What a beautiful day!
Easter Sunday is a beautiful day.
It is a day filled with hope and joy. And this year even with laughter? It is April 1! April’s Fools day. So be careful before biting that delicious Easter Egg! Easter and April Fool’s day collide today for the first time in 62 years, which means you might want to be careful. The next time Aprils Fools and Easter will converge will be in 2029 and then again in 2040. And then the next time will be in 2108, 90 years from now. So, it is a special day today. For Easter Hope and April Fools pranks!
I heard about prankster’s mom unwrapping small cholate eggs, replacing the chocolate eggs with healthy sour grapes. And about dipping Brussels Sprouts in chocolate and pass it as a dessert. Place frozen veggies in plastic eggs. So, kids when you are ready today to go hunting for Easter eggs: look out! They might not be what they look like! Happy Easter and Happy April Fools!
Pope John Paul II once said: “Do not abandon yourselves to despair. We are the Easter people and hallelujah is our song.”
This a wonderful quote and it speaks to our identity as Christians who are shaped by the stories of Easter and the Hope of Easter.
“Do not be afraid. “the Gospel tells us. “Don’t look for Jesus among the dead, look up, he has been raised, he is not here in the tomb.”
That is why, we are here. To look up and believe that Jesus went ahead of us and is waiting for us. To look at the risen Christ spreading his arms out greeting us, welcoming us and embracing us.
Today we gather because of the empty tomb. And we gather in church because of the hope that this Easter Story has brought to us.
We gather because of an empty tomb.
These past days of Easter I have been thinking about empty chairs.
Some years ago, my family and I were driving all the way from Yorba Linda to Tennessee to visit dear friends and to explore this wonderful country and diverse states. We were driving through California, Arizona, Texas, and finally came to Oklahoma. The only thing that I could honestly relate to Oklahoma was the tune “Oh what a beautiful morning….” from the Musical Oklahoma. I did not know, where to go or what to see in Oklahoma.
So, we drove to the center of Oklahoma City, parked the car, and suddenly realized that we were at a very very special place in Oklahoma.
We had stopped at the Fields of empty chairs and the monument of the weeping Christ. The 168 empty chairs representing the lives taken on the terrible tragic terror attack April 19, 1995 when the Alfred Murray Federal building was bombed, and the explosion killed 168 people.
168 empty chairs and a beautiful reflection pool, reminded us about our fragile life and death’s despair.
Across the street at the Catholic Church there was a sculpture of Christ weeping. Jesus faces away from the devastation, covering his face with hand. In front of Jesus you will see a wall with 168 gaps in it, representing the voids left by each life lost.
These empty chairs, the voids, and the weeping Christ are closely connected to today’s empty tomb and the risen Christ.
Because as Christians we should “not abandon ourselves to despair. We are the Easter people and hallelujah is our song.”
As the women who came to the grave that first Easter morning; as we have all been in mourning and grief; as we were facing the fields of empty chairs and the weeping Christ, - we should not despair but believe. Believe and abandon despair.
We shall shout again: “Christ is risen; indeed, he is risen. Hallelujah” And we shall confess this and live this in the face of hurt, pain, despair and death. In the face of empty chairs, gasping voids and tears of grief.
And believe. Believe that God is with us. We believe that life wins. We believe that love wins. If the world wants to call us April fools, we are glad to claim that title. As we believe in love, life, and grace.
Easter is the season of hope. Hope in so many different forms.
Hope is to believe, that there is more than, what we see and know.
Hope is to believe, that God is weeping with us, but also calling us, welcoming us as Thorvaldsen’s Christ on the altar: “Come to me all you who are worried and tired.”
Hope is to stop and smell not only the roses but especially the Easter daffodils.
Hope is to witness children growing up and exploring the world.
Hope is to greet a class of 19 Confirmands.
Hope is that light is always stronger than darkness.
Hope is to be here in church with you to day.
Hope is to walk peacefully with thousands of youngsters for life and against gun-violence.
Hope is to believe, that Jesus did walk ahead of us as he also walks with us.
Hope is to believe, that life is not just what we can understand, proof, measure, or control. Life is so much more than time can hold, than knowledge can proof, and so much more than we will be able to phantom.
You may call us dreamers, but we are not the only one. You may call us April Fools, but we are not the only ones on this glorious Easter morning. We are here, because we believe; we are here, because we have hope and love. We are here, because at Easter the spirit of faith, hope and love awakes in us, because we refuse to give into despair but would rather sing Hallelujah!
We are Christians, we are dreamers, we are dealers in hope.
We are Easter people and we want to sing!
So, let us sing and let the whole world hear it:
Christ is Risen. In deed he is risen. Halleluiah!