"Resurrection Day" Sunday, April 17, 2022, Easter Sunday, Sunshine Cathedral of Second Life

Please join us in the virtual world of Second Life each Sunday at 2pm Pacific/ 5pm Eastern time. Download the interface at Secondlife.com, create your avatar, and join us at Sunshine Cathedral.

Depositphotos_13469994_XLCall to Worship

Sunshine Cathedral is a different kind of church

where the past is past

and the future has infinite possibilities!

This is the day our God has made.

Let us rejoice and be glad in it

Opening Prayer

You have turned our mourning into dancing!

You have taken away our funeral clothes

and re-clothed us in joy,

so that our whole being—body, mind and soul—

might sing praise to you and not be silent.

Glory to the risen Christ! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

The Lessons

Click Here for First Reading on Easter

A reading from the Fourth Gospel (John 20.1-16)

Early in the morning on the first day of the week, while it was still dark, Mary Magdalene came to the tomb and saw that the stone was moved away from the entrance. She ran at once to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, gasping for breath. “They took the Master from the tomb. We don’t know where they’ve put him.”

Peter and the other disciple left immediately for the tomb. They ran, neck and neck. The other disciple got to the tomb first, outrunning Peter. Stooping to look in, he saw the pieces of linen cloth lying there, but he didn’t go in. Simon Peter arrived after him, entered the tomb, observed the linen cloths lying there, and the kerchief used to cover his head not lying with the linen cloths but separate, neatly folded by itself. Then the other disciple, the one who had gotten there first, went into the tomb, took one look at the evidence, and believed. No one yet knew from the Scripture that he had to rise from the dead. The disciples then went back home.

But Mary stood outside the tomb weeping. As she wept, she knelt to look into the tomb and saw two angels sitting there, dressed in white, one at the head, the other at the foot of where Jesus’ body had been laid. They said to her, “Woman, why do you weep?”

“They took my Master,” she said, “and I don’t know where they put him.” After she said this, she turned away and saw Jesus standing there. But she didn’t recognize him.

Jesus spoke to her, “Woman, why do you weep? Who are you looking for?”

She, thinking that he was the gardener, said, “Sir, if you took him, tell me where you put him so I can care for him.”

Jesus said, “Mary.”

Turning to face him, she said: “Rabboni! Teacher!”

Click Here for Final Reading Easter

The Wisdom of Rabbi Rami Shapiro

“I am not a Christian…but I am not willing to give up the resurrection so easily. I have been to the tomb of Joseph of Arimathea. I have seen where Jesus was laid, and where Mary Magdalene discovered him gone. I have stood in that tomb and felt its emptiness, and in that emptiness its power. I have spent moments alone in that place, and I have heard the cry, ‘He is risen!’ and I have understood it to mean that you and I can rise as well. I have felt the presence of the man, and have been touched by the power of the myth…

If this is…a story told that with each hearing we might move closer to Truth, then we have to ask not ‘what happened,’ but ‘what does the story mean?’

… Why do the women [of the story] see what the men cannot? Because the nature of the Divine as we experience it is essentially feminine. The embodied God is the Mother God; the universe is God’s body; matter is Mater/ Mother. The [story] is telling us that if you are to encounter Life you must open to your feminine consciousness, that aspect of yourself that resonates to the Whole, that deepest knowing that knows itself to be a part of and never apart from the reality of Life.

Why does Mary see Jesus as a
gardener? Because the gardener tills
the soil and removes the weeds. This is the task of humanity revealed in
Genesis. Jesus the Gardener reminds
us to break up the hard packed soil of
our lives, to let in the spirit that our body, like God’s body, the universe itself, might bring forth great beauty. But when he calls her name, when he enters into the intimacy of I and Thou, she knows him to be more that the Gardener, he is her teacher; the one who shows her how to care for her own garden…

We all seek meaning in the tomb of the dead. We all seek revelation, wisdom, and knowledge in the past. We are obsessed with the known, the conditioned, the fixed, and the frozen. But life lived in the moment is unknown, unconditioned, unfixed, and fluid. The living is not in the past or in the future, but only in the now. When Jesus calls Mary’s name he is calling her out of the tomb of the past and into the garden of the present.

Yet the present itself is quickly made past, if held on to. ‘Do not hold on to me,’ Jesus says to us. That would be another trap. It is not me…but what I teach that matters. This is why she calls him Rabbouni, rabbi, teacher, rather that Adonai, Lord. He does not asked to be worshipped, but heeded…

What does Jesus ask [us to] heed? Many things to be sure, but in the context of Easter one stands out: ‘Take up your cross and follow me!’ 

Why the cross? Because the way to realization requires the death of the ego, the mind obsessed with tombs, the mind that seeks the living among the dead. And follow him where? Not to Golgotha, but beyond it to the resurrection. Jesus is saying, take up the discipline of love and justice, let the ego that fears both be slain on the cross of service, and then body and soul will rise up, out of the tomb of the past into the eternally renewing present that is the Truth you seek…

Where you have taken refuge in despair, you need to hear Jesus call your name. Where your eyes are focused on the tomb, you need to hear Jesus call your name. Where you are trapped in the unfulfilled expectations of the past, you need to hear Jesus call your name.

And when you do you will know that Easter is not…a story of what was, but a revelation of what is, if you would only cease to seek the living among the dead.

Reflection by Rev. Dr. BK Hipsher

Click Here for Resurrection Day

After our reading from Rabbi Rami Shapiro I feel there is no need for another reflection. And yet it is Easter Sunday in the year 2022. Today we stand again in the tomb of despair, surrounded by grave clothes of 6 million who have died worldwide of Covid-19, surrounded by the grave clothes of the thousands who have already died and those who will perish today and tomorrow and the next day in Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, surrounded by those killed in war and violence all over the world. Today we stand in the dark, cool, damp tomb looking for answers.

Once again we are reminded that hope can manifest even in a tomb. When Mary went to where Jesus had been laid early on that first day of the week after he had been crucified, her anguish was multiplied by the fact that his body was no longer in the tomb. She ran to tell the others that the Romans had stolen his body so that it could not even be properly prepared in accordance with Jewish burial customs. You see Jesus was taken down from the cross just before the Sabbath began so the women could not perform their final mitzvah of washing and perfuming his body before he was laid in the tomb. And so the women came on the first morning after the Sabbath to finish the work they could not perform on Friday after sundown.

When the men came they surveyed the area, convinced that what Mary had told them was true and they left her there. But she stayed. She remained in her grief at the last place she knew his body had been laid. She wept. And in her teary eyes did not see that it was angels who asked her why she wept. But when Jesus called her name, she recognized him as her teacher, her rabbi.

Just as Rabbi Rami Shapiro described, I have been to the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem. I have walked up the hill along the path that Jesus walked, dragging the cross as he climbed to Golgotha. I have seen the mockery that Christians have made of the holy place where he was crucified. I have seen the slab where his body supposedly was washed down before he was carried the short distance to the tomb given by Joseph of Arimathea for his body to be put at rest. I have stood in the very place where all of this is said to have taken place.

And yet at no time in my life have a felt the pain and sorry of Jesus death more acutely than this year. The convergence of Passover, Holy Week, and Ramadan has weighed heavily on my mind as the world seems to become more insane by the moment. It seems that despair upon despair has gripped this week. And yet, here we are again at Easter. And in the Northern Hemisphere the flowers and trees are blooming, the sun is shining and once again we hear the voice of our teacher calling our name, inviting us not to look to the future, not dwell on what has already passed away, but rather to live in the now, in this moment.

Jesus does not bid us carry the cross up the hill to Golgotha, rather Jesus bids us follow his example in this moment. Rabbi Shapiro says, “Where you have taken refuge in despair, you need to hear Jesus call your name. Where your eyes are focused on the tomb, you need to hear Jesus call your name. Where you are trapped in the unfulfilled expectations of the past, you need to hear Jesus call your name.

And when you do you will know that Easter is not…a story of what was, but a revelation of what is, if you would only cease to seek the living among the dead.”

If only we would cease to seek the living among the dead. THIS is where we find our hope, in helping the living, ministering to their needs, giving whatever aid and comfort we can to those who despair, to those how have no hope. We do not know what this year between Easter Sunday and Good Friday will bring. And thanks be to God we cannot know. Because the not knowing, the unknowing, is what forces us to live in the now. And this moment, now, is where hope is born.

Let us follow Jesus to a life of loving each other, helping our neighbor, treating the stranger as if they were members of our own family. We have heard Jesus call our name, we have seen the empty tomb, and now it is time to share the Good News that hope triumphs over despair and even death cannot separate us from the love that we share.

The world needs to hear the message of Easter this year more than ever. Death is not the end. The Ukrainian people are showing us the way. They know that whether they live or die what they fight for is their friends and neighbors. They know that capitulating to evil is not living. And they are showing the world the power of hope, the power of love, they are keeping resurrection alive for all of us in real time this year.

May they be victorious. May the souls of the departed rest in peace. May their memory be a blessing to the world. And may God give us the will and the courage to help them in this war with death. Because today we are reminded that love is more powerful than death. Christ is risen! Hallelujah! Hallelujah!

For a list of music suggested to meditate on for this service click the link below:

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