Easter 2017 — Unlike any Easter Before

Easter has both a universal message for all times and a particular message for the moment.

At Easter we proclaim that light overcomes darkness, good conquers evil, and life wins out over death.  The message of resurrection reminds us that we might be down now, but we will get back up [RISE] again.  This is a mystery celebrated year after year.  It was as meaningful in the Year 1000 as it is today.

At the same time, it is a message proclaimed and heard in the moment, in the situations in which each of us finds ourselves.  Easter 2017 is unlike any other Easter.

For some folks, there is someone who was with us last year at this time who is not here this Easter.  A family member or a dear friend has passed from this life since last Easter.  They were physically present last Easter to hear — along with us — the message of hope and joy.  And now, they will not hear the message in the same way.

For some, there is a new job.  Maybe they were unemployed last year and living in hope — maybe they lost there job, were unemployed, and then found a new job.  For some, they may still be seeking a new job.

Some in our midst are experiencing new life because of a new relationship — they have entered into marriage — a new child or grandchild has been born.  The “circle of life” has been widened and the cycle of life has been renewed.

For some, Easter 2017 brings the feeling of the “darkness of the tomb” — they have not yet experienced the promise of resurrection or the hope that comes with new life.  They are pondering before the tomb — and still waiting for the miracle to occur in their lives.

For some, Easter 2017 challenges them to look beyond a coming moment of loss — and to see that what is before them is not the end — but a new chapter.  These are folks who may be facing retirement — or the need to down size and leave the family home to move to a retirement community or a care facility.  In faith, they know they are going to be ok, but still, there is fear and wondering.

Easter is always Easter — and yet, some Easter are more different than others.  We need to take the message of the first Easter and to allow that message to wash over the life events of 2017.

Our nation, under different leadership than a year ago, faces issues of health care, immigration, and international terrorism.

AND, WITH OUR PERSONAL STORIES AND NATIONAL CONCERNS — we profess that

Christ yesterday and today; the Beginning and the End;

the Alpha; and the Omega.

All TIME BELONGS TO HIM; and all the ages.  To him be glory and power; through every age and for ever.  AMEN.

And, we pray in the light of a new fire,

May the Light of Christ rising in glory

Dispel the darkness of our hearts and minds.

We are called to turn our eyes FROM our situations TO LOOK upon Jesus — who had risen from the dead TO LIVE AGAIN.

May the Light of Christ rising in glory

Dispel the darkness of our hearts and minds.

Because Jesus had risen from the dead we are challenged to NOT give into fear and hope-less-ness — to hold on with hope and to walk in the glory of the Risen Jesus.

Recalling a history beginning with creation of the earth and all upon it — remembering the faith of Abraham –being reminded of how God answered the plea of the enslaved to send Moses to lead them to freedom —

God once again calls us — with our feeling of being forsaken — to a new relationship.  God invites all who are thirsty to come and to drink freely — and to cherish that which is lasting.

Baptized into Jesus we have been baptized into his death.  United with him through death, we are also united with him in RESURRECTION.  For almost all of us — the Resurrection we are called to embrace in 2017 is a resurrection we have embraced many times over.

Maybe it was being bullied in grade school — or a high school relationship that crushed our hearts.  Maybe it was being excluded by a group we so wanted to be a part of.  Maybe it was being abandoned or scorned by a parent.  Maybe it was the darkness of poverty.

Is there a place of darkness or death in your life at this moment?  Where does the power of resurrection and new life need to reign?  Where does the miracle of Easter need to be seen this year?

All of us know what it is like to die and to rise.  AND WE WISH that was only a part of our past.  But, we know deep within, dying and rising, dying and rising, dying and rising IS LIFE.  It is not just a part of life — it is what life is all about.

Life is a story — the story of dying over and over again — and rising over and over again.

Physical death — is in reality the last of many experiences of dying.

Today — we are renewed in body and spirit to stand in Jesus — and to move from darkness into light, from death into life, from fear into hope.

I/We are once again to live.

hjm

 

 

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