Veronica Lawson rsm
4 April 2012
At the foot of Mt Macedon (Victoria) where I spent the first 16 years of my life, stands the lovely Church of the Resurrection, built in the aftermath of the devastating 1983 Ash Wednesday bushfires. The most striking feature of this church is Leonard French’s stained glass depiction of the resurrection experience of a devastated community, a statement of hope in the face of death and seeming hopelessness. Macedon has risen from the ashes and is once again a vibrant community. The Church of the Resurrection serves as a reminder of the community’s faith and provides a context for re-membering events that united its members in unexpected ways. In a particularly graphic way, it brings the lower-case experience of the local community into dialogue with its upper-case Story of the death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth.
We take time at Easter to re-member, re-enact, and re-tell the originating stories of our tradition. We dramatise and celebrate in solemn ritual what we celebrate in lower key every Sunday of the year. In our faith-inspired re-telling, all the power and grace of the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus are made present to us and to our world. Resurrection faith is a commitment to life.
In Mark’s resurrection account (Mark 16:1-8), the place of death, the tomb, lies empty and the message of life is to be proclaimed. The young man, God’s messenger, sends the women who have witnessed the death and burial of Jesus to proclaim the news of his resurrection to the male disciples. Some interpret the immediate silence of the women as failure. Others see it as the appropriate stance before the wonder of God’s power. The gospel narrative itself bears witness to a mission ultimately accomplished.
The ongoing economic crisis in Greece and the devastation caused by the recent floods in the eastern states of Australia foreground the language of death and resurrection. As we enter into the Easter mysteries, we carry with us the chaos of broken lives and of homes laid waste. We pray for order out of the chaos and for a real return to family and community life for the struggling and displaced. We join with those who are laying down their lives and sharing their resources to make this happen.