Those of you who have heard me preach at weddings will know that one of the things I often say is around the love they proclaim for each other at these steps being made real in the ordinary sometimes humdrum stuff of daily life.
The wedding day has occupied much of their thinking over the last few months and it is when things return to normal that they really work out what marriage is all about loving and cherishing each other amidst the dishwater and the to do list.
Now there is a parallel for us here when we think about the great Christian festivals we celebrate year after year.
At Christmas we’re invited us to renew our understanding of the miracle of the incarnation. Of how God in Christ took flesh and lived as one of us.
Then at Easter we journey with Christ through his passion, his death and ultimately his resurrection. A Holy Week indeed inviting all who believe in him to see the depth of God’s love, a love that even death cannot defeat.
At Christmas we are called to see the incarnate Christ dwelling in each of us.
At Easter we are called to see hints of the new life the resurrection brings breaking through all around us, anticipating what is to come.
Easter Day has passed and what a great day it was, after the austerity of Good Friday, the bareness comes a church filled with the aroma and colour of new life. And then what?
Well a bit like what happens after the wedding day we get on with it and the incarnation and the resurrection become real for us as we live it amidst the humdrum of our daily lives.
For our faith in Christ invites us to see the humdrum as holy, sustained as we are along the way by moments of great celebration and rejoicing, a bit like life, baptisms, weddings, birthdays, anniversaries and so on.
It’s interesting that in our reading from Isaiah, the writer makes the point that ‘On this day this song shall be sung’ but holds that day for singing alongside being steadfast ‘Those of steadfast mind you keep in peace because they trust in you.’
The days of Easter are days for singing and celebrating but we cannot stay there forever at some point we come down from the clouds and get on with living out our faith and we go into what is very appropriately called ordinary time.
In the passages we read in the Gospels and in the Acts of the Apostles that describe life after the resurrection it’s pretty clear that thinks were anything but ordinary for quite some time. There was confusion and a gradual working out of what this resurrection life might look like.
This evenings Gospel reminds us of that, it is only when they see the empty tomb that ‘they remembered all his words.’
For the women it was hard work convincing the sceptical men, who think it an ‘idle tale’. Peter though likely burdened all the more than his friends risks it he goes to see the tomb and then we read ‘went home amazed at what had happened’.
The resurrection for them was through glimpses and hints a gradual dawning understanding who this man Jesus Christ was. For them, as for us, the resurrection wasn’t just about a moment in history, when a lifeless body was raised from the dead, it was so much more, an event which would infuse every aspect of their lives.
And we’re not so different, we have celebrated the day and wow what a great day and now we get on with working out what the resurrection means every single day amidst the humdrum and the ordinary.
Perhaps Isaiah has a clue for us, for in that word ‘steadfast’ which simply means to be constant and unwavering we reconnect with that word of grace for us this Easter season. So that no matter what, our faith in the resurrection as a present reality as well as a historic event is steadfast.
For we believe that it’s through the resurrection all of life is transformed. This ongoing revelation that invites us to see things differently, teeming with possibility rather than hopeless and lost.
That isn’t always easy seeing life rather than death, that’s why those words from the Gospel are so haunting ‘Why do you seek the living amongst the dead’.
We sometimes do cling to the things of death in one way or another, instead we are to be steadfast in our desire to proclaim and live the resurrection and live and love more fully in this moment in time.
It was the resurrection that united Christ’s followers all those years ago, gave them the strength to say that Christ died for all and that his death was not in vain for through it the depth and beauty of God’s love was revealed for all time and for all people. Knowing the power of the resurrection at work in their lives, filled them with hope, dared them to speak of it, despite knowing it would likely lead to their death.
We are here because of them, for they spoke of a story that wouldn’t die that needed to be told and we speak of and live for the Risen Lord too, steadfast as his disciples here in Whitkirk, amidst the ordinary, making the humdrum holy, making drudgery divine as the priest and poet George Herbert put it.
The great days has passed and we bask in the afterglow for the next few weeks but even then we get on with the ordinary, working out what the resurrection means for each one of us amidst the dishwater and the bills.
So may we be steadfast and as Isaiah invites us ‘trust in the Lord always’.