My wife and I are new to Williams Lake. I have just started a pastoral position with the Cariboo Presbyterian Church, which meets in houses all across the Cariboo. I drive all over the Cariboo in the church truck to visit and lead worship in these house churches. My travel has stopped now with the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic and we have switched to online services. We are also celebrating Easter for the first time with this church and I am reminded once again of how the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus continues to be evident in new ways.
It was Easter Sunday morning, after a video call with other members of our church, that I looked out my kitchen window and discovered that my truck was not parked where I had left it. Someone had stolen my truck early on Easter Sunday morning.
Here is a difficult truth that I am still learning; there are no guarantees that life will go the way you expect. I expected Easter to be a time for sharing warm greetings and maybe even some candy. For Christians, the Easter holiday commemorates the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus over two thousand years ago. This moment is the central core of Christian belief and hope. Jesus said “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die.” (John 11:23-26a) The early followers of Jesus were expecting Jesus to be a great leader that would overthrow the Romans and lead Israel back to being a ruling power, but those hopes were dashed when Jesus was nailed to a cross between two thieves. The expectations we might have for a good and happy life can meet a swift end when our life makes a sudden change for the worse.
Easter is not just the celebration of disaster though. Jesus had told his followers that he would die, but that would not be the end. He indicated that he would be buried for three days but then be raised again (John 2:19). Easter is also about “resting in the earth” in the sense of Jesus’ burial. In the hours and days after Jesus’ burial, his followers were left with the conflict between the reality of Jesus being dead and his words that he would be raised from the dead. I felt this as I was waiting to hear what had happened to my truck. I knew it was gone, but was unsure what the future would hold.
Here is the miracle of Easter, that which was fuzzy and inconceivable to those followers of Jesus became crystal clear on the morning of the third day. God had physically raised Jesus from the dead and God continues his resurrection work even today. My truck was found by the RCMP the same day, with no damage, not far from where it was taken. I did not have much hope that it would be recovered, much less that it would not be damaged.
How are you dealing with a burial moment in your life? Is your spiritual life, your health, marriage, or finances in the tomb? God cares about even the small things in our lives and is still bringing the dead to life. This is the hope of Easter and it can be your hope too!