At our church, and many others, we have a special service at sunrise on Easter Sunday. I love this service. I love it because it’s different. It shows that this isn’t just another Sunday where we go to church and do whatever it is we normally do. There’s something about this day that makes us want to get up at 6am and stand outside in the rain/wind/cold.
We heard that very first Easter Sunday, a number of women also rose early in the morning, this time to tend to Jesus’ body. They had routines to complete to ensure the body was properly preserved, but that Sunday was certainly very different for them too.
So why, today, does this first Easter Sunday still matter so much to us? What impact does it have on our lives now?
Romans 8:11 says this:
“And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies because of his Spirit who lives in you.”
Anyone who knows Christ has the Holy Spirit living in them. It is because of this power, the same power that rose Jesus from the dead, living in us, that assures us of our future resurrection. Assures us that, like Jesus, our lives won’t end at death.
But still, what does Easter Sunday mean for us today? If its only about when we die, then surely we can all just go back to bed and wait?
But Romans 8:11 told us that this spirit is living in us now. The power that rose Jesus from the dead, lives within us today. The power of resurrection.
Wendell Berry wrote a poem called “Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front”. It explores how we have died to true values, and our appetites are now for petty consumables with no lasting value. Berry’s solution to this is to be crazy enough to follow God. He writes “so friends, everyday do something that won’t compute. Love the Lord. Love the world. Work for nothing.” He ends the poem with two words “practice resurrection”.
I personally have never brought anyone back from the dead. I have never known anyone with the power to resurrect, other than God. So then, how do we practice resurrection.
To resurrect is to restore to life; to revive or revitalise something that is inactive, disused or forgotten. To practice resurrection is to take something lifeless and broken, and revive it.
We see lifelessness, brokenness, death all around us. The homeless man, forgotten and alone; violence destroying the lives of millions; relationships on the brink of collapse.
In all this lifelessness; how can we practice resurrection? If we are to live out that first Easter Sunday, live out the message of resurrection, we must know that dead things don’t have to stay that way. Even the bleakest circumstances imaginable can be restored.
When we look out at the world, it seems overwhelming, an impossible task. But here, we need only remember that the power that rose Jesus from the dead, is living in us.
Micah 7:8 says this:
“Do not gloat over me my enemy, for though I have fallen I will rise”.
The truth we know, is that if Jesus can rise up out of the grave, we can definitely rise up and do something to bring life into this world, to practice resurrection.
We can reuse our old plastic bags and bottles.
We can speak encouragement to someone struggling.
We can invite someone who is lonely round for a meal.
We can have a conversation with someone who is homeless, showing them that they are not forgotten.
We can come alongside and support those suffering loss or pain.
We can buy dinner for someone struggling to afford food.
We can travel around the world to bring aid to those most in need.
We can share the good news of Easter with someone who has never heard it before.