Some of you may have noticed that I have not been posting much in the last few days. I have been laid low with one of the worst cases of flu I have had for a long time. Definitely ready for a season of resurrection. The fact that Seattle’s weather has been bursting with warmth and sunlight has certainly helped. And the daffodils, tulips and flowering shrubs are magnificent. The spirit of resurrection is definitely in the air.
Much of my reflections in the last couple of days have revolved not around Easter Sunday but around Easter Saturday. It has never really occurred to me before that this day was the Sabbath, the day that all Jewish people saw as a celebration of God’s new order. Yet for Christ’s followers there would have been no celebration that Easter Saturday. Their expectations of a new kingdom in which God’s people reigned triumphantly had been shattered. Their hope for the restoration of Israel had not become a reality.
What was very hard for Christ’s followers to realize is that God was doing something totally new. They were expecting restoration of the old order of things. God was bringing resurrection and a totally new order into being. In some ways the disciples still hankered after the fleshpots of Egypt. They were hoping for the establishment of an kingdom that looked very much like the roman empire only with them in power. God was bringing a totally new kingdom into being – a kingdom in which justice and righteousness reigns, in which the poor are fed and the captives set free, in which the sick are healed and abundance comes for all people.
How often do I miss the ways of God because I am looking for restoration of the old rather than resurrection of something totally new? How often do I cling to old expectations and struggle to embrace the new ways of God? In some ways I feel that our whole world is in this situation at the moment. The economic and political turmoil of these last few years are giving birth to something new but we are still hoping to go back to the old. And unfortunately much of the new is not good news for those who really need to see a new world of justice and abundance come either.
In the last few years the gap between the richest and poorest people has grown in most wealthy countries, but particularly in the U.S. In some ways even more concerning, the education gap has also grown meaning that poor people are less and less likely to be able to move out of poverty. we see the same trends in health too and those who live in communities of poverty in the US and UK can expect to live 10 years less than their more wealthy neighbours.
So my question this is Easter season is not so much how will I view the resurrection but how will I enable others to enter into resurrection life? The celebrations of the Sabbath day called for rest and provision for all – people and animals alike – because this was seen as a preview of God’s coming world in which all creation would be provided for. We are still a long way from that day. What will we do in this season of resurrection to help bring it into being?