Joy in the Fog
Homily , Easter Day, April 12, 2020
Small Worship https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=u_6zJ45W7uc&t=1179s
Luke 24:1-12 On the first day of the week, very early in the morning, the women took the spices they had prepared and went to the tomb. 2 They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, 3 but when they entered, they did not find the body of the Lord Jesus. 4 While they were wondering about this, suddenly two men in clothes that gleamed like lightning stood beside them. 5 In their fright the women bowed down with their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, ‘Why do you look for the living among the dead? 6 He is not here; he has risen! Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: 7 “The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.”’ 8 Then they remembered his words. 9 When they came back from the tomb, they told all these things to the Eleven and to all the others. 10 It was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the others with them who told this to the apostles. 11 But they did not believe the women, because their words seemed to them like nonsense. 12 Peter, however, got up and ran to the tomb. Bending over, he saw the strips of linen lying by themselves, and he went away, wondering to himself what had happened.
Peter was wondering what on earth had happened. What had happened was way outside his frame of reference.
Seems to me that this is how we have been feeling this Easter! We are wondering what has happened to our world, our country and our community. Like Peter and the others, our lives have been taken way outside our normal.
With the women and Peter, we scratch our heads and ask, ‘What is God up to in all of this ‘fog’?”
‘Fog’ is a good word for today. There has been fog this week in the Valley. I notice that fog just sits over everything.
Fog makes you feel closed in, isolated, unable to move freeing with any confidence. You can’t see clearly. At moments it is really thick. So thick that you really cannot walk or drive on. At other moments it clears a bit, but you are wary, hyper vigilant when driving. Danger could meet you. It is hard to live in fog. Even if it clears for a bit, you still know it is hanging over you.
Is this how you find yourself feeling with this Virus threat? I heard of the British PM’s battle with COVID-19 in ICU and the tragedy of so many dying in New York City and the fog closed in again.
When heavy, fog makes you fearful and hyper vigilant – and exhausted! It clears for a bit, but it is still hanging over you and your family, your church, your health, your house….
In their confusion and after all the trauma and difficulty they had experienced the women and Peter, struggle to receive the incredible news that hope is alive and the future looks brighter than ever.
We might be the same in this troubling pandemic time. This strange Easter we might struggle to hear the news the messengers and then the women speak.
They had heard about what was going to happen before. They had actually heard this good news of victory over death itself from the lips of their Teacher already. He had three times spoken of dying at the hands of dark enemies and rising to establish a totally new kingdom, a new way to live, a new hope to be enjoyed.
They had heard the words but never really trusted them – that God is in this and hope still rises despite the threat and the fog.
But , we like the have head this good news of the sun burning up the fog to create a beautiful day. We know this story. But do we trust the one telling it; doing it for us?
Eventually their confusion turned to absolute joy. At first they could not really know this joy. But eventually they did.
What helped them get to the joy in the fog?
They were directed to do one thing and it is this: ‘remember’. The two messengers in white said ‘Remember”;
Remember how he told you, while he was still with you in Galilee: 7 “The Son of Man must be delivered over to the hands of sinners, be crucified and on the third day be raised again.”’ 8 Then they remembered his words.
Remembering is the way Jesus lifts the fog of this disease and loss of freedom. As they begin to remember, joy comes, despite all that has and will happen to them.
Remember, friends. Remember that first morning. Remember Peter’s confusion. Remember those two others on the road and the stranger. We will remember them again in a minute.
Remember their burning hearts as he opened up his Word to them that showed them the full extent of his love and his victory over everything that threatens; over all enemies; over all times.
Remember your baptism. Remember your big moment of faith and the people who were there in that with you. Remember those special words from Scripture.
Remember his cross. Remember his pain, his words from the cross, his marvellous parables, his challenging words that sit us down and make us scratch our heads at times, but that we know are so very good.
It is Easter Day. In your house and in your heart he lifts the fog of this war on an unseen enemy and gives you a shaft of light called himself – crucified and resurrected Saviour from threat, fear, trauma, pain, sickness, despair for this world and one’s own life and the isolation.
Hear the Son rising to burn off the fog and deliver a beautiful new Easter life.
Remember. The way to his joy in the fog.