St. Ignatius NYC Logo

Saint Ignatius of Antioch Episcopal Church

An Episcopal Church in the Anglo-Catholic Tradition Where All Are Welcome

Easter Day
March 31, 2024

O God, who for our redemption didst give thine only-begotten Son to the death of the cross, and by his glorious resurrection hast delivered us from the power of our enemy: Grant us so to die daily to sin, that we may evermore live with him in the joy of his resurrection; through the same thy Son Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Isaiah 25:6-9
Colossians 3:1-4
Mark 16:1-8

Easter has been on the schedule for months. I’ve been advertising it all over social media. Our Instagram has been awash with the announcement that Easter is coming. This is what it means to live on the other side of the Cross. We know the whole story, we see it all at once from end to end. We see it from the Creation in Genesis to the stories of the spread of the early Church in Acts, into our own day, and beyond. Specifically we see Jesus story from this vantage point, from the Annunciation of his birth to Mary to his crucifixion, death, resurrection, and ascension. We aren’t surprised when Easter comes, because we knew it was coming.

This position has its advantages. Living in the post-resurrection world in which the Kingdom has already been inaugurated, this knowledge underpins our faith, because we already know what God has done for us in uniting us with him for ever. This is why and how we can exercise our lives, fulfilling the new commandment Jesus issued at that last supper, in which he told the disciples to “love one another as I have loved you.” So perhaps, Easter Day isn’t such a big deal. We basically celebrate Easter every Sunday at the Eucharist anyway,

Yet, Easter remains a big deal. While we can not wave away our memories and our knowledge of the story, we have still put our bodies through these last days of Jesus’ Passion. We entered Jerusalem with him, and heard the story all the way through back on Palm Sunday. Later we sat at the last Supper, heard that new commandment, watched Jesus perform that loving action of washing his disciples feet. We have watched in the garden overnight with his very self in the form of his Body and Blood. We have walked the way to Calvary, seen Jesus abandoned, and stood with Mary, the other women, and the Beloved Disciple at the foot of the Cross, watched him breathe his last, and seen him laid in the tomb. We have spent time in contemplation of our own wooden cross as if it were the very on upon to which he was nailed. By enacting these ceremonies, we have experienced for ourselves once again fist the hope, and then the pain of this past week.

Even our Gospel this morning provides a sense of uncertainty and wonder that we can allow to seep into our bones. We saw “Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome,” approach the tomb and see it opened and empty. We saw with them the “young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe.” We felt with them their amazement, and the heard response of the man, “Do not be amazed; you seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen, he is not here; see the place where they laid him.” Like the women, we experience the resurrection, not with the physical body, but through the empty tomb, through that defiance of death.

We can be brought with Mary, and Mary, and Salome to see Christ again this morning, as if for the first time, to proclaim his resurrection and truly say with Isaiah, “Lo, this is our God; we have waited for him, that he might save us. This is the Lord; we have waited for him; let us be glad and rejoice in his salvation.” Indeed, Isaiah captures for us the full weight of the Resurrection and what it brings:

On this mountain the Lord of Hosts will make for all peoples a feast of fat things, a feast of wine on the lees, of fat things full of marrow, of wine on the lees well refined. And he will destroy on this mountain the covering that is cast over all peoples, the veil that is spread over all nations. He will swallow up death for ever, and the Lord God will wipe away tears from all faces, and the reproach of his people he will take away from all the earth.

The Resurrection brings the great feast and rejoicing, it removes the pall of doubt and death covering the earth. It “swallows up death for ever” and consoles us in that beautiful image of God wiping “away tears from all faces.” Finally, the Resurrection brings with it the gift of reconciliation and forgiveness, of welcoming us into a new age.

The Resurrection we celebrate this morning was not a surprise. We came here expressly to celebrate it. We have been anticipating it. And that is the gift that Mary, and Mary, and Salome, and the Beloved Disciple nor any of the other disciples could have anticipated. That first resurrection day remained full of uncertainty and fear. We are even told that the women told no one of what they saw, but of course they did. They told the disciples and they came. They had the privilege of being there. Through the liturgy we were given the chance to experience a fraction of what they felt, and see just how important Easter Day is. And even more so, we have the greater privilege in knowing that it has already been accomplished for us and that it is our responsibility to live lives in response to it. And we do this in the only way that we can, by doing our best to heed that New Commandment to love one another, and even when we don’t live up to the mark, we know that it is by the power of that same Resurrection that we are forgiven and healed, and set back on the path to continue that work.

Andrew Charles Blume ✠
New York City
Maundy Thursday, 28 March 2024

© 2024 Andrew Charles Blume