Edwin Markham, the famous poet, once wrote these words regarding his experience of God:
I made a pilgrimage to find our God:
I listened for his voice at holy tombs,
Searched for the print of his immortal feet
In [the] dust of broken altars; yet turned back
With empty heart. But on the homeward road,
A great light came upon me, and I heard
Our God’s voice singing in a nestling lark;
Felt his sweet wonder in a swaying rose;
Received his blessing from a wayside well;
Looked on his beauty in a lover’s face;
And saw his bright hand send signal from the sun.
Markham’s search for God included holy tombs and ancient altars only to find God on the homeward road — in the
everyday things of life.
At Easter, we are reminded the Risen Lord is not always revealed to us in ways we might expect or anticipate. The Angel tells the women, “He is going before you to Galilee…” Galilee was home, but Galilee was also on the fringe. It was a long way from Galilee to Jerusalem, in more ways than one. It was called “Galilee of the Gentiles” by the Jews, because in Galilee, Jews and Gentiles lived side by side. In other words, Galilee wasn’t a very kosher place to live. But it was where Jesus chose to go first. Not to Jerusalem — to the home of the Temple, but to dirty old, unkosher Galilee.
It was there the first people heard the witness of the women and the disciples that Jesus Christ was raised from the dead, and it was there the story continued. I would like to add it is still in dirty old unkosher Galilee the story of the Risen Christ continues.
To me this is one of the clearest messages of Easter: the Risen Lord comes to meet us in the midst of everyday life. Sometimes Jesus appears very subtly, like to the two disciples on the road to Emmaus and sometimes, a little more directly – like the time he appeared to Saul on his way to Damascus. Either way, Jesus comes to us where we live.
Whenever we discover the holy in the daily routine of life – whenever we see behind the facade of life to the amazing presence of God all around us, we are confronted by the Risen Lord. Whenever the hungry are fed and the naked clothed, life triumphs over death and the Risen Christ is revealed. Whenever the fearful are comforted and the lonely
befriended, life triumphs over death and the Risen One is made known. Whenever the shamed are forgiven and the guilty find grace, life triumphs over death and the Risen Lord is present in the midst of them. This is why we gather to worship and celebrate – on Easter Sunday, and every Sunday.
Easter is about discovering the Risen Lord in places where you would never think to look — on a cross, in an empty tomb, in Galilee — even in your own life. The Easter story never ends, it never has and it never will. We are simply the latest to receive its Good News and the latest to share it. Let’s make sure the chapter we are writing is one worth passing on.