Dawn chorus

On an early morning I listened to what the English call the "dawn chorus:" that symphony of birdsong that heralds the start of a new day. It's especially loud in the twilight of the morning, before the sun comes up. It is a happy expectation.
     Not all expectations are quite as happy as the dawn chorus, however. It is difficult for the modern church to capture the idea that the Easter event, the resurrection of Christ, was a complete surprise. In the wee hours of the Easter morning, as our scripture from St. Mark tells it, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome, were going to a tomb to anoint the body of a loved person with spices. Likely there was a dawn chorus that morning, but I doubt they heard it. I can imagine, at best, a feeling of numbness as they approached this dreadful, solemn task. As with us today, there would not be a thought that something frankly impossible had occurred in the night. 
     Today is Good Friday. It is a day of death, the "good" being a medieval distortion of the word "God" that has stuck around. To appreciate it, we would have to be willing to enter into a state of hopelessness - and be able to hold it. Beholding the death of Jesus was not something the male disciples could do: they hid, they ran, they denied knowing the man. The braver women who had followed him, and whose voices he had held in equity (in multiple examples), stayed with him to the end, and tended to the body that remained. 
     There is, each morning, a dawn chorus. And perhaps in the darkest of our moments, we don't want to hear it, or cannot hear it. Yet that does not mean it is not there, heralding a new dawn and a new day. As we go into Good Friday, I invite you to reflect on those things which block out the dawn chorus in your life: what keeps you from seeing up? On Easter, a day of the impossible, might it be possible for new life to arise from even that?

Shalom,
Pastor Ryan

Please note that I will be on vacation from Monday, April 2, through Sunday, April 8, and at a UCC Theological Summit in Cleveland from April 8-10.