From this morning’s pew leaflet:

Easter Sunday – Life Beyond Form

Easter announces that there is life beyond form. All the external realities we perceive with our physical senses are containers of something greater and more mysterious than the container itself.

We honour and value the external forms in which Life manifests. But we do not allow our preoccupation with containers to distract us from contents.

Paul described the human condition saying,

We have this treasure in jars of clay. (2 Corinthians 4:7)

The jar is essential but we never value the vessel above the “treasure” it is designed to carry.

The fundamental human problem is that we stop with the jar. We settle for the illusion that the path to contentment and happiness lies in getting the jar right. So, we spend our lives polishing surfaces and seeking to orchestrate circumstances to suit us, instead of concerning ourselves with our true identity that resides in the invisible realm of our inner being.

When we attach ourselves to exteriors, we lose touch with the inner reality Jesus came to embody and to teach us to live from.  We become like the women in Mark’s Gospel seeking life in an empty tomb. There is no hope in an empty tomb.

Easter invites us to open our hearts to a dimension of life that is deeper than this physical, time-bound, material realm. Resurrection calls us to nurture our awareness of the love and life that transcend physical death.

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One of the people who cherishes form perhaps as much as anyone, is the Kentucky farmer, essayist and poet, Wendell Berry. And yet, even for Wendell Berry, form points to a deeper reality.

Sabbaths poem I from 1980.

What hard travail God does in death!
He strives in sleep, in our despair,
And all flesh shudders underneath
The nightmare of His sepulcher.

The earth shakes, grinding its deep stone;
All night the cold wind heaves and pries;
Creation strains sinew and bone
Against the dark door where He lies.

The stem bent, pent in seed, grows straight
And stands. Pain breaks in song. Surprising
The merely dead, graves fill with light
Like opened eyes. He rests in rising.

                                                                           (Wendell Berry)

So, we gather today in our various forms, to hear words of mystery, share prayers of beauty, join hearts in song, and break the bread and share the wine that point beyond form, in order that our eyes may be opened and, death not-withstanding, we may be surprised by the light.

God bless you all as, in whatever way your spirit leads, you celebrate the power of Life and Love that transcend form and are stronger than all those forces that work against the light.

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