…from Rev. Nancy Nourse

Last Sunday we heard the Palm Sunday story of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem. On one side of the city was a Roman parade with armies, war horses, military officials adorned with jewels, and other symbols flaunting wealth and power. On the other side of the city was something much different; a procession that offered contrast, alternatives, protest, and witness to a power that was of a different kingdom…the kingdom of God!

Also last weekend, many observed or participated in marches that said the lives of young people matter. Sparked by the school shooting in Parkland Florida, hundreds of thousands marched to say “Enough” to the accessibility and misuse of weapons. These marches were a witness, a protest, and a demand to the “rulers” of their kingdom to demand changes for the protection of young lives. Like Jesus’ time, those in charge did not respond well… some accusing the leaders of the protests of being brainwashed and manipulated, arguing a different position, or ignoring the protests completely and instead retreating to their wealthy homes, resorts, and golf courses.

It’s hard to hold leaders accountable. Many say things will never change.

They said that about Jesus, too.

Emma Gonzalez, a student from Parkland, in her speech left an impression that will last a life time.

Jesus’ words left an impression that has lasted through history, too.

At this moment in time, we could imagine ourselves walking in the shoes of Jesus’ zealous but likely stunned followers – figuring out how to be a voice for their peasant leader and his teachings. We are perhaps overwhelmed with the tasks at hand – being a voice against the oppressive and unjust decisions of the wealthy, and standing up to the conflicts and violence in our city and around the world. Fellow Christians electing a man who makes fun of the disabled, exploits people who work for him, and brags about his mistreatment of women. Where to start? What to say?

Parkland. Kinder Morgan. Russia, the US, and North Korea. Iraq. Syria. Afghanistan.  

Forests disappearing. Plastics swamping our oceans. Fear of what is different deepening prejudice, and fueling hate. And just dealing with our daily stresses of busy schedules, making ends meet, balancing budgets, finding resolve to chronic pain, relationship issues, and so on.

Where to start? What to say?

Where do we look for hope?

This Sunday is Easter – and we’ll be celebrating the good news of Jesus’ resurrection. We’ll hear the story of how Mary went to the tomb and Jesus wasn’t there. That he was alive again. That death didn’t have the last word. That’s where hope starts.

On Easter Sunday, it won’t matter what you wear to church. It won’t be about how polished the coloured stained glass is, or how in tune the choir is, or if the children find all the chocolate eggs we hide. All those things will happen. But the hope? The hope will come from the community we find when we walk through the doors. The hope will come when we sing and pray and look in the same direction as all the others gathered in a diverse and imperfect community – side by side.

It might be in a moment of silence, or at the end of a song when your neighbour sang the wrong notes, or when you heard a parent hushing and rocking their toddler, that you felt what you came for – that you were reminded that in everything going on in your life and in the world – you are not alone!

Hearing together the story of the empty tomb is our reminder that even when life seems overwhelming, or not how you planned it, or that it’s impossible to make a difference in the chaos of the world…anything is possible. There is hope. You are not alone.

Just being here is enough.

It might be all it takes to experience a miracle!

Happy Easter!