After an unusual Lent that began with a tornado carving a path of destruction through our community, it was healing to finally share the traditional Easter greeting: The Lord is Risen! He is Risen Indeed! The celebration of resurrection does not cover over the many areas of our community that remain deeply wounded from the tornados destruction, nor does it gloss over the pain that surrounds so much of our living, but it does remind us that there is something else at work in our world… something other than despair… something other than the hopelessness that seems to have a home in our world. That something other is the resurrection life of Jesus Christ, the good news of God’s salvation for all creation.
The resurrection is a reality that has broken into our world, even if not yet in fullness. We live in the in-between time of Christ’s resurrection and his return to heal and redeem all creation. We, the children of God, continue to groan with all creation as we await this wonderful day. But our calling is not to gather each week in worship simply to lament and groan and look to future healing. We share our woundedness, but as the people of Jesus, we also have a calling to do something about the suffering and injustice that fill our community even today. We are called to be citizens of the Kingdom of God even now as we strive to live as Jesus taught us to live in all he did and said. We are called to live in the Way of Jesus even as the Spirit prompts us and equips us for life in Christ today.
In my Easter sermon, I shared these words from Nancy Claire Pittman, who serves as Assistant Professor for the Practice of Ministry at Phillips Theological Seminary in Oklahoma:
“…the boundless gift of the empty tomb cannot be separated from the words and actions of Jesus. Resurrection, after all, is not some buoyant ideal, unconnected to the real world. It is an invitation to live as Jesus lived, a doorway to a life in which meals are shared with enemies, healing is offered to the hopeless, prophetic challenges are issued to the powerful. Only now it is not Jesus who does these things—it is we ourselves who see at last the subversive power of the resurrection in order to live it now. On that first dim Easter morning, when women cow- ered in the dust and angels picked them back up, pointing them out the door of a tomb into the full light of morning, the power of God was no longer unspoken. The silence was broken, and the women rushed back to tell the others about what they had seen.”
UBC, in this Easter season, I pray that we all will learn to live more fully into the subversive power of resurrection. I pray that we will take seriously our calling to share the good news of God’s salvation through Jesus with those in our community—to tell the story of Jesus and his calling to make a turn and follow in his way of living, to tell the story of the cross and resurrection and the mystery of salvation flowing out of these events, to enact the story as we live like followers of Jesus, offering healing and love to one another and our neighbors.
The Loris is Risen! He is Risen Indeed!