After re-reading this Scripture several times this past week, I have a picture in my head of Peter, after hearing the news from the women of the tomb being empty, frantically sprinting to the tomb, pushing aside people perhaps, tripping over rocks and other pieces of nature along the way, getting to the tomb, staring inside, being amazed at the emptiness he saw, and then slowly walking back home - zombie-like, with a perpetual “huh” look on his face.
The selection from Luke ends with Peter simply going home, but that isn’t the end of our faith story. The Bible doesn’t end with “and they all went home.” Easter, Jesus’ resurrection, is not the end. By no stretch of the Christian faith, is it the end.
Easter is the beginning. It is a continuation of the narrative of God’s presence in this world. It is the beginning of another chapter in the Christian faith. The beginning of the chapter where Jesus’ message lives on through the Holy Spirit, through the disciples, through us.
Yes, Easter reminds us of Jesus’ resurrection, which reminds us of his death, which reminds us of his life’s message and ministry. His words and actions were a constant threat to the Roman rule and culture at the time - teaching all who would earnestly listen to work towards God’s way of selflessness, forgiveness, grace, love.
We studied the Lord’s Prayer through Lent - each week we took a different phrase and really looked at what those words would mean coming from Jesus. It’s important to do this with any piece of Scripture because words change - meanings change! For instance, we don’t regularly say “We want to hallow you” to someone (they might think we intend to make a hole in them) - we say “we want to honor you - we want to recognize you for your hard work.”
Going through the Lord’s Prayer we find what it means to work towards God’s intention for this world, for all people. (I love the different version below - fills out the meaning more.)
Praying the Lord’s Prayer can remind us of what our work is as Easter people. N.T. Wright said it so well that “Jesus' resurrection is the beginning of God's new project - not to snatch people away from earth to heaven - but to colonize earth with the life of heaven. That, after all, is what the Lord's Prayer is about."
Interestingly, Jesus’ prayer, which is now known as the Lord’s Prayer, doesn’t specifically end in Matthew’s Gospel with “for thine is the kingdom and the power and the glory for ever and ever.” That line was added from another ancient text, the Didache (a text of teaching from the apostles). However, living as Easter people absolutely brings power and glory to God’s kingdom!
Today is a new beginning! Christ’s Spirit is certainly alive! It is certainly alive in us! When we work to feed the hungry or bring peace between opposing sides or help a person step free from oppression or debt or abuse, we are living out the words of the Lord’s Prayer and we are a living example of Easter.
Friends, may we live as Easter people! May we live remembering and embodying Christ’s teachings. Amen.
Scripture: Luke 24:1-12