On the slopes of the Kidron Valley in Israel across from the Eastern Gate of the old city are tombs, graves, crypts where thousands are buried. The understanding is that on “That Day,” the day of resurrection, the day of the Messiah’s coming or return, as we Christians understand it – the Christ will come from the East. This Sunday, once again the folks from my congregation will gather at our cemetery at 6:00AM to meet the sunrise. It may seem morbid to some but it was a natural place for Christians to gather when the religion was considered a sect and a dangerous one at that in the days of Roman occupation and persecution. It was a natural place to hide in plain sight. It would be normal for people to gather and mourn or remember those witnesses and martyrs who had gone before them in the faith. Then they might gather for prayer and worship.
Perhaps some will think it is weird or at least mildly odd that we should gather at 6:00AM to celebrate the Resurrection but among us are the faithful reminders of those who have gone before us. They have gained their reward and we look forward to that day when we will rejoice together with them as the Church in Heaven. The book of Revelation reminds us that God will make “all things new.” Indeed in this broken painful beautiful world there is a need to remake things in the image of the first creation. A creation that we have spoiled. Jesus resurrection reminds us of what God offers, not just to a select few but what is offered to all. Will we accept the gift – this call of grace that leads from a life that ends in death to new life?
Join me in celebrating this powerful hope we share.