This Easter I am feeling a tension between two different bible verses. The first one is from the first chapter of the first book of the bible: “Let there be light.” Wow! I’m all for it. And it sounds so relevant and timely for Easter, doesn’t it?
But the second bible verse, at least at first glance, suggests something different. It is from the almost-last chapter of the last Gospel in the bible. According to the Gospel of John Easter starts this way: “While it was still dark.” And here’s the thing, John never tells that it got light. Hmm.
Many of you have shared with me recently how you are feeling the darkness in our world; sometimes feeling overwhelmed by it. You know the Good News of God in Jesus Christ, you know and feel God’s presence in your life, and you experience it in so many relationships and encounters with others, but… It’s still dark. What to do? How to proceed?
Few preachers (that I know) would put it quite this way, but I’m going to: Look past Jesus. Oh, I don’t mean ignore Jesus. I’ve got nothing against Jesus; I’m all for Jesus! And because of that I know that Jesus is all about others and all about empowering others. Heck, Jesus calls others “children of God” just like God called him “child of God.” Jesus doesn’t want to be the only one carrying and sharing God’s light. So do like Jesus invites: look to others too. Be one of the others too.
The Easter stories in the Gospels give us some amazing models of how to carry on even when it is dark. And foremost among them is Mary Magdalene, who is sometimes called the apostle to the apostles because while they were so busy feeling the darkness that they were missing the Easter event itself, she was out there looking for and sharing the light. And she encountered Jesus! (For the story, see John 20:1-21. And for a deeper take on the background of the story, see Song of Songs 3:1-4; hey, any excuse to read Song of Songs is worth it).
Easter light, the light of creation and re-creation, is here. Here for us to receive. Here for us to share. Be like Mary. Look for, find, and share the light of Christ even when you feel darkness. Perhaps especially when you feel darkness…Let there be Light!
Rev. Dr. Fred Weidmann, Senior Minister