High River United Church of High River, Alberta


Easter Joy is Soul Joy

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Easter joy is soul joy.  It cares nothing for how much we have, what we own, how busy we are, or however we understand success.  Most of us know that none of those things foster soul joy.  Easter’s transforming joy is deep.  It comes along side our soul and when joy and soul connect, we know we are OK no matter what.  We can rest in the midst of all the demands we face or the hard labour that we endure.


So you might wonder how do we place soul joy alongside the gospel’s account of the resurrection which ends with terror and amazement and speechless fear? This seems far from new shoes, and golden waist bands and my soul’s so happy.  But I’ll be honest, I like the way this ending of Mark works.  The short ending of Mark (yes, there’s a longer ending but most scholars agree it’s a later addition) leaves everything dangling.  It’s really up to the reader to ponder the significance of the resurrection and wonder about what comes next.  What we do know is that Jesus is already on his way to Galilee and well ahead of the fear-filled women.  Mark’s gospel ends with expectation. And this according to one scholar forms the basic stance of the believer… expectancy.


I appreciate the notion that those who follow in the way, wisdom and teachings of the resurrected Jesus are an expectant people.  Other words for expectant are: eager, hopeful, excited and… anxious.  I like the word anxious in this context.  It would be appropriate to feel anxious in the presence of God’s resurrecting and transforming power.  For example, I’m a little anxious when I put a screwdriver into power outlet—not because I’m stupid—yes, I’ve turned off the electricity—but you know, it’s just the thought of it.  When we’re playing with power, we ought to feel a little anxious because of course the result can be well… shocking.


The women in Mark’s gospel were amazed, seized by terror, speechless and afraid because they tapped into the live current of resurrection power that was electrifying.  At least that’s how I imagine it.  Making contact with this kind of power is jolting and disorienting.  So now we have a narrative that has all of that attached to expectancy.  We know that the mystery of the resurrection of Jesus fosters and creates a movement of expectant people who live with a profound awareness of God’s transforming power.  And that same power, as shocking as it might be, as electrifying and amazing as it may be, is the source of soul joy.  Because somehow it helps us know that God’s power at work in us can do infinitely more that we could ever ask or imagine.  It’s so deeply joyful, that we just can’t sit down.


The gospel of Mark leaves its account of Jesus’ resurrection open-ended.  Jesus is already out ahead, now it’s as if the gospel is inviting us the reader to determine what’s next?  What will the women do?  Will they tell the disciples?  Will people think they’re crazy?  In many ways, it’s like we and them are rushing to keep up with a loving Christ who is already out ahead making way for God’s transforming and compassionate love.


In fact that’s the way of God.  Always before us, always a head so that God’s love and healing is ready for us when we get there whether that’s in this life or the next.  But I do think the deeper and harder to get our heads around truth, is the mystery of this day which defies darkness and death and proclaims an expectant God who can hardly wait to bestow upon us the luxuries of the resurrected life—rest for our weary feet, the comfort of a long white Palliser Hotel terry cloth robe and waistband, utter rest and a happy soul—so happy that despite God’s intention that we sit, we just can’t because our soul is so happy.


May this Easter season be a gift of grace and love—a renewed way of remembering who and who’s we are—a reminder that we are all held in God’s circle of light and love—that we can rest in this love and allow our soul to be so happy that we can’t sit down.  God knows the world needs expectant, hopeful, eager, and even anxious joy.  As a people following the way of the resurrected Christ--as agents of God’s love--the deep soul joy of this day is ours to share.  From Susan, Me and our sons, we wish you all a very happy and joy-filled Easter season. 

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