It begins in a garden in the cool of the evening. It ends in a garden at the break of day. It traverses every landscape; perseveres through every tragedy; it exults with every shout of joy. It embraces each emotion, experience, and every idiosyncrasy. It is impossible to end. It is explained and extolled on every page of the Bible, yet it is intensely contemporary and personal for us today. â€śItâ€ť is our relationship with God; a relationship once begun and later consummated in a garden as God, who is our lover, ecstatically calls our name.
â€śAdam, where are you?â€ť â€” the first, the evening question; Lover strolling in the garden longing for the beloved, pining to be here and one with us.
â€śWhere have you taken him?â€ť â€” the second, the final, morning question; the beloved searching through the garden, longing to find her Lover, pining to share his life.
A relationship, intimately personal; a relationship, deeply committed; a never-to-be-ended, loving relationship summed up when each of them hear the Lover speak their
belovedâ€™s name: â€śAdam,â€ť â€śMary;â€ť the Loverâ€™s calling the belovedâ€™s name declares the presence of and our oneness with God.
This is not someone elseâ€™s relationship. This is not someone elseâ€™s life. This is our relationship â€“â€“ yours and mine â€” and the whole worldâ€™s relationship with our God. In the resurrection of Jesus Christ, in Christâ€™s victory over death, we celebrate our life, our newness and our victory. We revel in the intimacy that was and is and always will be between our God and each (and all) of us: A relationship that is as intimate, personal, definitive and final as death, yet a great deal better, a lot more final and a load more fun!
Thereâ€™s been a long, cold, dreary winterâ€™s darkness since that Voice first named us in the evening. A long, cold, dreary winter in which children have been killed; buildings have fallen; markets have crashed and fortunes have be madeâ€¦.and lost; a long, cold, dreary winterâ€™s darkness in which families and friendships, cities and societies have risen and prospered and faltered and fell. Thatâ€™s not just the way of world history. Thatâ€™s the way of our life, thatâ€™s the story of us today.
The world and its history, our lives and our stories are ready, waiting, and anxious for a new dayâ€™s dawning; ready to hope, ready to rise, ready to really live.
So on this first day of the week, while there still is much darkness, weâ€™ve come from the city to listen for a voice; the voice of our beloved, the sound of our Lover searching through the city, longing for our companionship, seeking to grant us all life. That is what God does. That is what God is.
Alleluia! Christ is risen! Christ is risen â€” for us â€” indeed! Alleluia.