Friday, April 19, 2019

Easter Sunday Devotional by Rev. Kerri Allen

Easter Sunday Reflection

Very early in the morning on the first day of the week, the women went to the tomb, bringing the fragrant spices they had prepared. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in, they didn’t find the body of the Lord Jesus. They didn’t know what to make of this. Suddenly, two men were standing beside them in gleaming bright clothing. The women were frightened and bowed their faces toward the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He isn’t here, but has been raised. Remember what he told you while he was still in Galilee, that the Human One must be handed over to sinners, be crucified, and on the third day rise again.” Then they remembered his words. When they returned from the tomb, they reported all these things to the eleven and all the others. It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them who told these things to the apostles. Their words struck the apostles as nonsense, and they didn’t believe the women. But Peter ran to the tomb. When he bent over to look inside, he saw only the linen cloth. Then he returned home, wondering what had happened. Luke 24: 1-12 (CEB) 

In this Easter Luke passage, women closest to Jesus proclaim Jesus’ resurrection.  But before they go out to evangelize this good news, they experienced a lot of emotions.  I imagine they were already experiencing grief, loss, and anger that Jesus was “handed over to the sinners” and crucified.  They probably didn’t have much time to process these overwhelming emotions before going to the empty tomb.  At first, they were frightened and then they couldn’t contain this good news.
I sense some parallels to the present day.  This is not much different from contemporary conversations on environmental injustice, particularly on climate change.  It is frightening, angering, and overwhelming.  As I am writing this during the frigid winter of 2019, there have already been close to 30 deaths in the city of Chicago because of the record cold, with the elderly and children among those most vulnerable.  According to the NAACP, race is the most significant indicator when it comes to the placement of toxic facilities.  Even in the midst of lost lives and urgency to respond, there are too many who believe that environmental injustice is nonsense. If only they would bend over and look inside.
But we can’t control who is willing to look.  Instead, we must be like the women on Easter morning.  Like Mary Magdalene, Joanna, and Mary we must remember Jesus words and proclaim them.  Jesus warned that if his disciples remained quiet, the stones would cry out.  And we see the earth crying out in extreme weather patterns throughout the world.  Yet, Jesus proclaimed that sin does not have the last word.
As Easter people, we must proclaim the same and reject environmental injustice. We must declare that just as the sun rises over Lake Michigan, just as we arise on Easter morning to the hope that all of creation might be restored to God, we will rise and proclaim God’s justice, environmental justice, will have the last word.
Eternal and ever present Holy One,
One of complexity and covenant,
God of hope and hospitality,
Source of love and life,
on this day that dawns fresh beginnings, 
birth us anew.
Ignite in us a new passion, 
one that dawns fresh beginnings,
one that emboldens us to resist the temptation complicity.
And when illusions and falsehoods become acceptable norms,
birth us with the audacity to speak truth in love for all that is right.

Rev. Kerri N. Allen is a Reformed and womanist theologian, PhD student, and hospital chaplain in Chicago. Originally from St. Paul, MN when Kerri is not buried in a book or writing a paper, she enjoys hiking, travel, watching sports, cooking or spending time with one of her many nieces or nephews.

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