Easter Sunday 2001
The resurrection is about
rich new life springing forth where before there was death, despair,
- By 1963, the pesticide DDT together with some shooting,
had driven the total population of Bald Eagles in the lower
48 states down to about 400 breeding pairs.
- In the whole state of Minnesota, the mid 70ís, there were
fewer than 100 pairs.
- When I was a child, there was always a pair of eagles nesting
somewhere north of our lake cabin, in northwestern Wisconsin.
- We loved to watch the young ones learning to fish.
- One time we saw one dive to the water. But instead of
flying away, it stayed down. Laboriously itís paddled toward
the shore with its wings. We were really worried about it.
Finally it reached the shoreÖand dragged a huge fish up
on the beach.
- But then one year we didnít see any young.
- And for several years we didnít see any eagles at all on
- Sailing story
- Clouds lit from the bottom
- Occasional puff of white on the top of a wave
- No business at all being out by myself
- Boat balance high on the edge.
- Very alive
- Look up just in time to see a Bald Eagle fold itís wings,
plunge to the water, and fly away with fish.
- They were back.
- Today there are 6000 breeding pairs in the lower 48 states.
- This past week we heard the story of Jesusí crucifixion:
- His betrayal by Jesus in the Garden at Gethesemane
- How the soldiers tortured him
- His kangaroo trial before Herod
- And finally his crucifixion and death upon the cross
- These events led the disciples to complete despair
- All they had hope for was lost, along with their dear
friend and master, crushed by the Roman overseers
- But when they went to the tomb to prepare the body for
burial, it was not there! Instead, two men in dazzling clothes
told them that he was not there. He was risen.
- Over the next 40 days Jesus appeared to the eleven remaining
disciples in the upper room,
- to two of them on the road to Emmaus,
- to the eleven again when Doubting Thomas was with them,
- to seven at the sea of Tiberius, where he cooked a breakfast
of fish and ate with them,
- and to Peter, where he gets Peter to say three times
that he loves him, thereby reversing Peterís three denials
on Maundy Thursday,
- Finally, they saw Jesus ascending into heaven
- All of which, more than the empty tomb itself, convinced
them that Jesus was indeed still alive, still with them
in some mysterious way.
We all learn to understand
new things by comparing them to things we already know
Balthazar pops out.
- Which is why, contrary to popular belief, adults learn
most things faster than children. We have a bigger store of
knowledge to compare to.
- Anyway, itís no surprise that we should look to examples
of new life that are within our understanding, in our attempt
to appreciate the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The resurrection of Jesus
Christ is without parallel.
- Good morning ladies and gentleman. Iím back. Not from the
dead. Just from a long vacation. Dragons live forever, you
know, and sometimes it gets tiring.
- Anyway, I would like to talk to the children for a minute.
- Here in my bag I have some items we see at Easter time
- What do you think could be in this bag? Shout it out.
- What happens if you put a boy bunny and a girl bunny
in the same cage and leave them alone?
- How many babies do you get?
- Lots of babies, lots and lots and lots of babies
- Bunnies are a great symbol for new and abundant life!
- An egg (chocolate)
- What would happen if I sat on this egg for a long time?
- Nothing. Because itís chocolate.
- But what happens when a bird sits on a real egg?
- It hatches!
- Eggs are another symbol of new life
- What are butterflies before they are butterflies?
- How many of you remember the story of the hungry caterpillar?
- It eats and eats and eats until it gets really big, and
- It spins a cocoon
- And what comes out of the cocoon?
- A butterfly?
- Butterflies make a wonderful symbol for new or changed
- Lily bulb
- Anyone know what this is?
- Does it look alive? No. It looks inert and dead.
- But if we put this in dirt with water and fertilizer,
do you know what would happen?
- It would grow into a beautiful Easter Lilly like the
ones decorating our church this morning.
- Well kids, thanks so much for helping your parents understand
what the heck Tom was talking about. I have to go now. See
The resurrection is a mystery
we cannot fully understand
- There is nothing exactly like it
- If the returning eagles fill us with joy, how much more
does the return of Jesus?
- If bunnies and eggs are full of new, abundant life, how
much more are we given new life in Christ?
- If a caterpillar is transformed into a butterfly, how much
more we are transformed in Christ?
- If a bulb seems dead, but grows into a beautiful lily,
how much more beautiful Christ has become, in rising from
- But through it we are freed from bondage, fed with spiritual
food in his body and blood, released from the fear of sin
and death, given hope for our own resurrection, and filled
with abundant new life.
Rev Tom Harries is the rector of St. Nicholas' Episcopal
Church, Richfield, MN, when he originally wrote this
reflection in 2001. Tom and we welcome your comments.
Please address your comments or additional reflections
Harries or any MEESC
member, or mail them to:
c/o C. Morello
4451 Lakeside Drive
Eveleth, MN 55743-4400 USA
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