Easter Day

Acts 10:34-43 or Jer. 31:1-6
Ps. 118:1-2, 14-24
Col. 3:1-4 or Acts 10:34-43
John 20:1-18 or Matt. 28:1-10

Alleluia! Christ has broken the bonds of death and hell, calling forth, in his victory, a people to share his New Life, not simply as a future promise but as a real and present mystery. Alleluia!

When Mary Magdalen stood confused and grieved over what she thought was the theft of Jesus’ body, the Lord appeared to her newly alive, though she did not at first recognize him. His resurrection became real to her only at the moment — a moment the Church knows now yet awaits — when her heart was pierced by the sound of her name. Naming her, Jesus made her the first witness to the resurrection. He rose from the grave and then infused his new and eternal life into Mary by speaking her name. “He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out” (John 10:3). Indeed, as the New Adam, Jesus stands in a new Garden of Eden. As in the creation account, he has authority to name created things. “And whatever the man called every living thing, that was its name” (Gen. 2:19).

The name that Jesus gives to Mary and the name he gives to you is, in one sense, your name; he calls you as you are. Yet he also invites you to something higher and more profound. He calls you “out of error into truth, out of sin into righteousness, out of death into life” (BCP, p. 368). He calls you as a living witness to his resurrection by your participation in his risen body. In a profound sense, the Church is the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The Church has no life but the life of the Risen Lord who sustains her moment by moment.

From the vantage point of the resurrection, we see with greater clarity all that Jesus did and taught, and how his life and ministry extends new life to humanity and renews creation. Preaching his first sermon, Peter said, “God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Spirit and with power . . . he went about doing good, healing all who were oppressed by the devil, for God was with him” (Acts 10:38). As all were oppressed, he reached out to heal everyone. His ministry concerns the whole human race. Even more, it involves the cosmos. “In him all things in heaven and on earth were created, things visible and invisible . . . He himself is before all things, and in him all things hold together . . . he has come to have first place in everything . . . and through him God was pleased to reconcile to himself all things, whether on earth or in heaven, by making peace through the blood of his cross” (Col. 1:16-20). All things are gathered into Christ and raised. Thus, our lives and the whole created order are, in a mysterious sense, hidden in Christ. Christ is before all things, in all things, above all things. He is the tabernacle of all being.

Jesus is calling us to his resurrected life using our name, taking personal care to reach our ears and our hearts and our minds. He calls us by name, but his calling and our response to it means that our lives are hidden in Christ. There are aspects of our lives in him that, for now, we cannot know. “You have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God” (Col. 3:3). Who are you? You will only know when Christ is revealed, and the fullness of your identity revealed in him.

You have a secret and beautiful life above, hidden with Christ.

Look It Up:  Read Psalm 118:17.

Think About It:  I shall not die, but live.