But how do we approach this new thing, this new life that is given to us in the darkness of the pre-dawn. Does it actually mean anything to us as we gather at the place of worship or is it another thing that is on the agenda for this weekend? Take the kids of to some exciting camp ground or to the coast or to a secluded spot away from it all isn't that better than going to a stuffy old church and listening to another boring old sermon? and if we do go away do we go to a distant church were no one will know us just for the tradition that tells us we should go to church?
In this age when people are less drawn to the concept of a commitment to a place or an institution where we find those that do are becoming older and more frustrated as they feel the demands of 'religion' placed upon their shoulders, what does it mean to celebrate new life and the mystery that is the Risen Christ. How can we re-capture this mystery within our lived lives in a manner that will draw us into Christ's presence in our lives and those of the community?
The darkness of our daily lives appears not to be dispelled by the new fire that is lit for us. It brings an image of warmth and community as we gather around to bless the candle that for us becomes a symbol of Christic love in the world. We have survived the previous days challenges, the death of a human upon a cross. We saw the humility, the graciousness with which the anointed one died. We sat on the sidelines without interfering, much as we do today in light of injustice and power. So here we have gathered as a community; we have heard Luke tell the story of the women approaching the tomb. Are we approaching this day as they are? Full of trepidation and a certain amount of uncertainty? Are we to confront the mortality of our humanness once more as we anoint the corpse of the anointed one?
New fire for new life
We become aware that it is our mortality that has been surrendered, our frailty that has been given in the body of the anointed one as we are invited to new life by those who are at the tomb. The body is not here, we gave up our lives on the cross when we surrendered to Christ's love in our lives at our baptism. We have been invited away from our old lives. We were reminded of that surrendering on Good Friday. Both visually and physically as we wept at the foot of the cross, a weeping for our old lives. We have been washed in the waters of baptism and cleansed so that we too might partake of Christ's risen life. He has gone on before us and as we renew ourselves within the waters of baptism so we commit ourselves once more to that call from outside of ourselves. We lift ourselves on the journey that is embedded within our lives a journey towards Christ so that we may fulfill God's commandments. We are once more called to love our neighbours as ourselves, not only as a saying but as something that we do all of our lives. We have recalled our sorrows, we have turned once more towards Christic living and we pledge our selves to the call of a kingdom that is to come in the world through the grace of God's presence in our lives.
Each year we move further away from our call as we bog down in the minutiae of our mundane lives and each year we are recalled by the cross into new life with trepidation because of our past failures. We renew our vows to a covenant of love through baptism. We are energised as we are welcomed once more with the words that speak to us out of mystery that Christ is Risen! He is Risen indeed!