sermon among the Storydwelling community on April 17, 2022 in Kiwanis Park, Bend
rooted in Luke 24:1-12
We are here–in the cold, there was a blizzard yesterday–
because of our muscles.
Our muscle memories tell us:
we gather on Easter. We tell the story.
We make it special, gosh darn it,
and these kids are gonna have 200 Easter eggs to find and rip open.
My body tells me to do it.
Same for the women in this story–
whereas maybe the other disciples are tucked away, hiding, who knows,
the women’s muscles, their memories, compel them toward the body of their beloved.
What they are going to do–anoint his body with spices oil–
was just what people did back then. They have a muscle memory for this.
And just like the women, our memories drive us,
desperate for communion with other bodies.
This is the original state of being.
From one cell, in the very beginning of everything, we are now many,
and we find ourselves desperate for reunion ever since.
But what happens when our bodies are attacked by virus,
or by the fear of getting the virus,
or by the fear of being around other bodies.
When our bodies only know the numbness of screens and the numbing of another glass of wine,
and all of that starts to feel safe because our bodies are so scared.
Our bodies have been rewired over the past two years.
And I’m not sure we remember how to walk steadily
toward one another, toward our neighbors, toward bodies in need of care and tending.
My mind forgets what it is to let each minute, each day, each movement of my body
be oriented toward at-one-ment,
be filled up with love, with grace;
as if each person, flora, creature, day is pure gift,
bearer of god–
both fleshy and divine.
My mind forgets, so I am trusting that my body, my muscles, remember.
The women remember:
as they see the stone rolled away they recall their beloved teacher,
their beloved community of peaceful insurrectionists.
How for them each day was an opportunity to see the light in the body right in front of them.
This was their revolution: to reorient always toward love and tender care.
And the empty tomb is Jesus’ most defiant act of doing just that:
reorienting toward love, care and the capital T truth that life wants to live.
He lives on the minute those women decide to keep on living, too.
This is resurrection.
This is what I give my heart to–
what I pledge my fidelity to:
I am resurrected, over and over again,
in my reorientation toward love, care,
and living persistently even though death-dealing forces would have it any other way.
We are resurrected, beloveds.
Just like the women who were bursting with both confusion and fear and anticipation for what happens next.
Our bodies are resurrected,
our bodies are resurrecting–it never has to stop–
and that is a muscle memory as old as the big bang;
that is a muscle memory as old as your time in the womb.
A muscle memory shared by all life everywhere:
from the mycelium underground to the grass under our feet to the sparrows in the sky–
It is a collective memory that tells us to live. To care.
To break down any barriers to life that we encounter.
To be resurrected by the Spirit that moves in and among all things.
We are resurrecting now–
our creaky bones are starting to remember,
our muscles are starting to come alive;
these days in the tomb have been hard.
And it is not over.
But we are beginning to remember.
So it is okay to start small. Really small.
We don’t need to roll away huge boulders;
small stones are a good way to start.
And they are a good way to end, too, by the way–
maybe it is only ever about small stones.
Resurrection looks like relearning how to
call someone when you know they have had a tough week.
Or reaching out to someone to ask them to call you because you’ve had a tough week.
It looks like inviting a circle of people to your house to do crafts in your yard;
looks like holding someone’s baby or making a meal or making plans to take a walk.
It looks like figuring out my own capacity to be of use in the world–
by volunteering at the hospital; by setting aside money and energy for local organizing events;
looks like rumbling and being vulnerable with a colleague or a friend,
looks like inviting almost-strangers over to your house for dinner
because that’s how friendships get born.
It looks like sleeping; it looks like stopping.
It looks like saying “no” to anything that feels like death.
It looks literally a million ways
this learning we get to do, over and over, thanks be to God–this remembering how to be resurrected.
One day the mist will clear and the big boulders,
the huge mountains of systemic injustice and oppression
will be clear again, as they have been in the past–
they will be clear again, and our work, your workm will be crystal clear– maybe it already is for you.
And when that time comes our muscles will know how to move mountains,
how to roll away stones,
because we’ve been practicing, and practicing together–
THREE women came to the tomb, not just one, by the way–
one couldn’t have rolled the stone away by herself–
Our muscles will remember how to be resurrected,
and when my body forgets, yours will remind me–
and now is a time to be reminded:
your life wants to live;
your body is divine enfleshed;
you are resurrected,
and we are many.
Thanks be to God.
May it be so.