It was cold and foggy during the Easter Sunrise Service, this year. The crowd was a tad smaller than normal, at Forest Park, but the regulars showed up still hoping for resurrection. Much of the story remained the same. The beauty of the White River, the damp soil, the smoke of the bonfire, the murmur of sleep deprived disciples was part of the narrative we remembered. 

We sang, “Angel Roll Away the Stone.” Someone decided that we should set up the communion table under a great tree, and then it started dripping profusely from the heavy laden dew. “Remember your baptism!” The guitar players grumbled amiably, and the rest of us laughed softly. Yes, this day is all about remembering our baptism, our death with Jesus that has no hold because of God’s great goodness and mercy.

The scripture lent itself to my feminist sensibilities, I could not help proclaim that it was indeed Mary, who was the first preacher of the Gospel (Mark 16). In the Homiletics (preaching) class in seminary we are taught to always preach the Gospel, that which is the Good News. The Gospel of Jesus, his death, and his resurrection was first preached and understood by Mary, who then told the men, most of whom did not believe her, Peter had to go see for himself, was then convicted. Resurrection is one of those things that we are invited into every day. 

One of the things that Easter teaches us is that, death and life are two side of the same coin; you cannot have one without the other.  It is in dying to our stuff, our sins, our bad habits are when we are freed into a new life. Richard Rohr, Franciscan priest, writes very eloquently about this topic.

“Each time you surrender, each time you trust the dying, your faith is led to a deeper level and you discover a Larger Self underneath. You decide not to push yourself to the front of the line, and something much better happens in the back of the line. You let go of your narcissistic anger, and you find that you start feeling much happier. You surrender your need to control your partner, and finally the relationship blossoms or ends. Yet each time it is a choice—and each time it is a kind of dying. It seems we only know what life is when we know what death is.”

My Lord, what a morning when we believe the Good News, that death does not have the last word, and we are invited into new life, death does not defeat us, yet it is ever present in our lives. Alleluia! Christ is risen!

- Noblesville’s Teri Ditslear is a pastor whose column appears Saturdays in The Times. Contact her at pastor@rolcommunity.com, on Facebook or at www.rolcommunity.com