When our kids were young story-time followed by prayers was a normal bedtime routine. At first it was easy . . . just think up some crazy plot line, tell the story, and then everyone could end their day in a fun, positive way. However as they aged, the stories had to find new depth. The plot lines had to broaden, new characters had to be introduced, and if we weren’t careful the kids would call us out on the stories all being the same.
Often times we look at the different retellings of the resurrection story as problematic because none of them are the same. They each have different event sequencing and a slightly different makeup of people. However, the end result always remains the same. Each time – the worst things are not the last things. The worst things are the precursor, the catalyst, the dawning of THE new day!
This Lenten Season (the 40 days not including Sunday prior to Easter) we are going to explore the Easter earthquake story from the Gospel of Matthew. It’s a different way of looking at the power of the Easter story. It is a way for us to examine our life assumptions in a new way.
In Matthew, after the women watched the crucifixion and Jesus’ body be placed in a tomb, they faced the end of the story. The stone was rolled across the tomb and the followers of Christ would return to life and the world as it was. Yet now burdened with a sadness and pain that was crippling for them.
But then, the unexpected happened. A new day dawned and a great earthquake occurred. It wasn’t the end of the story, it was merely the beginning.
God shattered the all-too-predictable power of death with the power of new life.
God, through the lifeless Jesus, brought forth a whole new creation.
The tomb did not signal the end of Jesus’ story but the beginning of the reign of his love, grace, justice, and peace.
Are there stories in your life, chapters perhaps, that feel dead and in need of a resurrection?
Remember, the end of the story doesn’t have to be the literal end. Even though circumstances may change or be different, ends can always be the dawning of new things.
The risen Christ means us among our confusion, our chaos, and the fearful ends of parts of our lives. He always speaks the same words repeated over and over throughout the Gospels. “Do not be afraid.”
“If anyone is in Christ, there is a new creation. Everything old has passed away; see, everything has become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17