Saturday, April 3, 2010

Easter: We Don't Have to Make this Stuff Up!

Easter Morning!

Sometimes I wonder how and why it is that this morning continues to reach me on such a deep level? I know it's coming; I've been down this road over 50 times now; we just had Palm Sunday, Maundy Thursday, and Good Friday; yesterday morning a boatload of children swarmed the church looking for eggs - so we all knew that Easter morning was bound to come around again.

Yet here it is, confronting me once more with the amazing fact of resurrection, and I can feel the tingling all up and down my spine. I'm like a kid waking up on his birthday morning. I can't wait to get dressed and I can't wait to get to church.

Why? Why does it still get to me?
I think the answer resides in the truth about every other Sunday of the year. Let me explain: A few years ago, right after Easter services, I greeted a young couple who were visiting First Presbyterian. They lived in Brandon, only they didn't attend church anywhere.

Here's what they said:
  • "This was great! If church was like this every Sunday we'd be here every week!"
Another young couple who were standing nearby overheard the comment and couldn't help but interject:
  • "Oh, but it is like this every week," they said. "We really don't do anything special or different just because it's Easter Sunday."
BINGO! That pretty much sums up what makes Easter ring true for me. We don't have to make it up; we don't have to put on the razzmatazz and pretend that we're any more joyful than we naturally are; we don't have to paint on Easter faces, or fake a special smile for Easter photographs; we don't have to sing out any louder or pray with more conviction than we already do.

Why? Because Jesus is risen! The resurrection is a fact of faith. Every Sunday is Easter Sunday and every worship service is a celebration of new life.

This is my whole point about "Living like we mean it; because God most certainly does." What Jesus pulled off that first Easter Sunday opened the gate for all of us. Life - full, demanding, electric, loaded, dynamic with possibility - that's what Easter means.

Jesus walking out of the tomb is a metaphor for any one of us willing to take God at God's word. It's the challenge to emerge from low expectations, and the self-fulfilling prophesies of mediocrity. Easter is life, fully engaged. The tomb is the morass of defeat and disillusionment. Jesus is willing to reach in and pull the rest of us out with him.

So the real Easter question is this: Are we willing to take his hand and allow him to walk with us into the future?

Salvation is this: Taking Jesus up on his offer to participate in the ongoing work of God. It starts now: in this world, in this life, on this day, and into this week. It continues for eternity.

Eternity? That's nice. Today? That's a real "right now" invitation, offered in real time. I am a pilgrim on this path; I am a pilgrim in progress; I am continually and overwhelmingly animated and amazed and overjoyed when confronted by the liberating truth of resurrection. I plan to live that truth as if Jesus actually meant something by it - something for me and in me and via me....

I'm going to live Easter as if I mean it; God most certainly does.

1 comment:

ericpet said...

Interesting to be reminded how special our church is. Special by its simplicity and sincerity.