Often our experience falls short of our expectation, even very short. We hope for love and find companionship. We desire friendship and find alliance. We expect vocation and land a job. We have high expectations, but low experience. So, over time, our expectations can diminish, and we find ways both to accept that outcome and to militate against it. Experience frequently trumps, and often disappoints, expectation. We want an A and get B. We want a Porsche and get a Ford. We want a full church, and get half of that.
How different Easter! The Easter gospel is so strangely, hauntingly different. It is not just a matter of a church being full (though that is very nice-we hope to see many of you, and often, this weekend!). It is the marvelous, miraculous actual experience of the women, when they enter the tomb, in comparison to their dread, fear and sorrow in expectation, as they come to the tomb. Luke begins and ends this gospel of restoration power with the women, a gathering of women engaged in a traditional task of preparing a body with spices and ointment. Luke revises, not to say restores, Mark’s account, and sings the Easter news: Christ has triumphed over the cross and that triumph is based on appearances-experiences-of the risen Lord, experiences of restorative power, experiences that confound and outshine our more limited expectations. Life is more enchantment than disenchantment.
They expected a corpse and found an angel.They expected a stone and found an opening. They expected an ending and found a beginning. They expected death, real pungent death, and found life, joyous, everlasting life.
This is the good news of Easter: The lasting love of God in Christ, wherein our worst fears are not realized,wherein, in Whom, for once, our expectations are not ever quite as good, wonderful or high as our experience.
~Rev. Dr. Robert Allan Hill, Dean of Marsh Chapel