The Great Easter truth is not that we will be born again someday but that we are to be alive here and now by the power of the resurrection!
That great Easter truth we celebrate doesn’t end when the Easter lily wilts and the Alleluias fade: instead it enables us to be alive – here and now – each and every day – claiming the power of the resurrection – often in very unexpected ways. For as we journey together through the Easter season we will hear again and again that the Risen Lord isn’t always announced with alleluias and Easter lilies – in fact, the exact opposite seems to be the rule.
Mary Magdalene, the first to encounter Jesus in the garden at first thought he was the gardener – until he spoke her name. Running to tell the other disciples they thought she was hallucinating – until he appeared to them in the upper room. Thomas, out of the room when Jesus showed up, thought they had ALL gone over the edge – until Jesus showed up again and said, “Here, Thomas – if what you need to believe is see my hands and my side, check it out.”
Over and over we hear the stories of those who had resurrection right in front of them and they couldn’t see it – not, I believe, because they lacked faith but because they lacked the vision to see what was right before their eyes. The resurrection of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ was not a one-size-fits-all experience – if it had been, we would have fewer resurrection narratives in scripture – and fewer clueless disciples in the narratives!
And yet I believe that in these stories of first century Christians there are truths that speak in a very particular way to us in our efforts to build a church that isn’t “one-size-fits-all” either -- but to build a church that is a community of faith where whoever you are and wherever you find yourself on your journey of faith you are welcome here!
For it is in that community – in communion with God and with each other – that we are given the grace to recognize the resurrection that so very often doesn’t look at all like we expected it to. The Good News we have to share – the lived experience we have to testify to – is about exercising diverse and prophetic ministries in every part of this broken world: proclaiming peace in a time of war in Iraq, Afghanistan and Palestine, preaching life in the face of death in the genocide in Darfur and in the death penalty in California, offering comfort in food offered to the hungry or a prayer shawl given to the grieving.
Around the world and around the corner we have Good News to tell – resurrection to proclaim – work to do. Being alive here and now -- by the power of the resurrection -- gives us the power to make a difference: an Easter Truth worth celebrating all year long!