The late Presbyterian Minister and Theologian Shirley Guthrie used to tell about a friend who would call him every Easter. When Guthrie picked up the phone, the friend would shout, “Jesus is on the loose!” and hang up.
Our friends at the Hot Metal Bridge Faith Community here in Pittsburgh once used dramas in worship in place of preaching. One drama had Jesus on the loose in the mall at Christmas, surprising hurried shoppers who hadn’t expected to encounter the one for whom Christmas was named.
Easter means that God is on the loose.
The empty tomb isn’t a metaphor, like “it’s always darkest before the dawn,” or “spring follows winter.”
God came first to the people on earth least likely to believe that God could become human, or that a human being could rise from the dead.
After they put Jesus’ body in the tomb, his friends all went away heartbroken. No one was the least bit curious on that first Easter morning: “Hey guys, he kept telling us he would have to die but then rise on the third day. Don’t you think we ought to hang out there just in case?”
None of them went. They would understand why we might be skeptical today.
Yet something happened that morning. A force was set loose that is still changing the world.
Tombs can’t hold Jesus. Nothing can.
Jesus is on the loose, and he is infusing all of creation with new life, love, joy, and purpose. He wants that for you, too.
Jesus is on the loose! He is on the loose, indeed!