The stories of religion are the stories of people. Of human nature. Of the seasons, the cycles, the death and the rebirth. But religion takes us one step further. One step beyond ourselves and our expectations. Religion reminds us over and over again that always. Always. Always. Always. We begin again.
Just when we think that we cannot possibly. That we cannot climb out of the nightmares we have created for ourselves, or out of the nightmares that have simply come to us. Religion tells us, reminds us: this is not the end of the story. Not ever.
There is always another chapter. A chapter which gives us yet another chance. Another start. Another reason to Hope. And in the Christian tradition, the story we have before us is the story of Easter.
The story of Easter is a story that begins, as all good stories do, with temptation. In this story, the temptation for Jesus is pride, power, and … well, more power. Which is not a surprise since that is what we are tempted with daily, even if the pride is simply being right, because of course we are, and the power is simply having control over lives that so often seem out of control. Which doesn’t seem like a bad thing … as long as our plan works, and we stay in control. No temptation there.
Most of the time, however; our plans get interrupted in some way and suddenly there temptation is again. Can we roll with the storm or do we drop anchor and fight, only to risk destroying our ship and our loved ones on it? It may not happen the first storm or interruption we come up against, but, over time, determined to be in control, and so very sure that we are right, we risk destroying what we are so certain we are trying to protect.
Ironic, isn’t it? And then suddenly we find that our so carefully constructed world is falling apart, and we are sinking from the stress of it all. And it seems as if we just might have reached our final chapter.
And this is true in the Easter story. The storm is so bad and the winds are so great that the anchor does not hold, and Jesus goes down with the ship, leaving loved ones behind, grieving and afraid. Only in the Easter story the death is on the cross, and in the Easter story this is not the last chapter.
In fact there is no last chapter because the story is unending, or rather it repeats itself. Showing us over and over again each and every year that just when it seems death is the only answer, another answer takes its place. Even when everyone is so sure. So very sure that there was no hope. No way out. No chance. No choice.
Just then, it happened. As it will always happen. Life. Like the exquisite lotus blossom that can only grow in the dankest, most desolate swamp, resurrection bursts out of the darkest of nights, out of the sure and certainty of death. And reminds us mere mortals that always. Always. Always. Always. We begin again. No matter what. Thanks be to God. And Happy Easter!
Reach the Rev. Ellen Huber at firstname.lastname@example.org. The church is at 59 Church Road, Easton CT 06612, 203-268-3569. The church website is christchurcheaston.com.