St. Pauls – Monday in Holy Week – 4/11/22
This morning as I was gathering my things to come to church I was thinking about everything that needs to get done this week: all the Holy Week liturgies and sermons, the regular office work, Physical Therapy and somewhere in all that I want to read books and sit in the back yard with Susan. I don’t for a minute think that’s about only me. I’m pretty sure you know and understand in your own life what that’s like. And it’s not just this week, Holy Week. It’s every week, it’s every day. It’s life.
As I finished gathering my things to come to church, briefcase, phone, beverage, I paused for just a few seconds to look out the window and I wondered, What really matters? It was one of those thoughts that comes unbidden and unannounced, the kind that shows up and interrupts. I didn’t ask for or intend to think that. It was one of those thoughts that haunts, so I thought I’d share it with you.
What really matters to you? What really matters for the life you want to live? What matters so much to you that when it is ignored, forgotten, denied, covered up, it becomes the matter with you? Like when someone asks you, What’s the matter with you? not in a negative, critical way but in a caring, concerned way. What really matters to you?
I think that’s a question at the heart of this evenings gospel (John 12:1-11). I think that’s the question behind Jesus’ statement, You always have the poor with you, but you do not always have me.We so often hear that statement as being about the poor, as a comment on our powerlessness to overcome poverty, and, sadly, sometimes as a reason to give up on the poor.
But what if it’s not?
I don’t think Jesus is even talking about the poor. I don’t think he is offering a theology about the poor, making an evaluation of our outreach, or being pessimistic. I think he is just responding to Judas. After all, Judas, not Jesus, is the one who brought up the poor.
Jesus could just as easily have said, You always have the rich with you. You always have work to do. You always have errands to run. You always have chores to do. You always have bills to pay. You always have somewhere to go. You always have a to-do list. You always have things to tend to. But you do not always have me. So I am back to my question. What really matters?
Maybe when Jesus says, You always have the poor with you, he is saying that our lives are conditioned, that we always live within a set of circumstances and conditions. And the challenge is to not let those overtake what really matters. Our work is to not lose Jesus (what we might call the unconditional) in the conditions of our life, and to not make the conditions of our life ultimate.
What are the conditions and circumstances of your life today? And what really matters? It is not a question of choosing one or the other. It is a matter of living in the tension of the two. What really matters does so not in spite of or because of our life’s circumstances and conditions but within them. What really matters calls to us from within the circumstances and conditions of our life. It asks a response from us. Sometimes we respond and other times we don’t. And when we do respond, the whole house is fragranced. That’s where I want to live, in the house of fragrance, don’t you?
Let us pray:
who sent your only Son Jesus Christ to save us from our sin,
show us how we can honor you and bring glory to your name,
by walking in the way of Jesus.
Give us grace and mercy as we try and fail,
guidance when we’re not sure which way to go,
and wisdom to trust you in all things.
For what really matters is your love
which brings light and life to all who seek it.
May we seek you evermore as we walk with you
through this Holy Week and beyond. Amen.
St. Paul’s – Tuesday in Holy Week – 4/12/2022
You know what it’s like when you are walking along and you miss a step, right? You stumble and twist. You can’t get your balance back. Everything is unstable. You reach for something, anything, that you hope is there, and it is not. And you don’t know how it will end; whether you’ll stay upright or fall to the ground.
I saw that happen yesterday. I didn’t know there were two steps there, he said in the midst of trying to steady himself. And just as he got himself together he did it again and said, Or a third. I didn’t laugh. I remembered my missteps and the steps I have missed.
That’s my image of a troubled soul. It’s those times in life when we’ve missed a step or three. We’re agitated, stirred up, going to and fro, back and forth, stumbling and staggering. We feel overwhelmed and powerless to control, fix, or insure our life or the lives of those we love. The outcome is uncertain. Life is out of whack and we’re out of balance. We come face to face with our own weakness. A troubled soul knows it is weak. And most of us do not like being weak.
When has that happened to you? When has your soul been troubled? What troubles your soul today? What’s it like for you to recognize and feel your own weakness? Are you scared, embarrassed, ashamed? Do you feel inadequate, defective, vulnerable? What’s your prayer in those times, Father save me from this hour?
I know that prayer as I am sure all of us do. And so does Jesus. Despite what he says in today’s gospel (John 12:20-36) it will be his prayer in the Garden of Gethsemane. Father, if you are willing, remove this cup from me (Luke 22:42). It’s a prayer in which we face our weakness and ask to be saved from it. But what if we just faced our weakness and lived from it and not apart from or in opposition to it?
St. Paul talks about the weakness and foolishness of God, as if those, and not power and wisdom, are the ways of God (1 Corinthians 1:18-31). A weak and foolish God? It makes me wonder if there is more to our weakness than we often see or trust. What if there is a surprise waiting for us in our weakness? What if weakness is a garden for the possibility of the impossible? What if weakness teaches a new and different way of being in the world?
Do you remember when you were a child putting little bitty fragile seeds in a paper cup full of dirt? There was nothing strong or powerful about those seeds. And remember how surprised you were when saw that first sprout, the greening of life? One of my friends has a weakness with alcohol. His weakness has shaped his life in a beautiful way. It has given him a life and a new way of seeing himself. He is one of the most beautiful souls I have ever known.
I’ll never forget the weakness I experienced with the death of my grandfather who raised me. My soul was troubled, but I also know that weakness helped me better understand who I am, who I am not, and what really matters. I know someone who went through a severe debilitating illness. She had never before been ill but she lay in weakness for weeks. She’s since recovered and says it changed the way she understands and relates to others who are ill. It softened her heart and filled it with compassion. I am not a golfer but I can’t help marvel at Tiger Woods winning the Masters after years of shame, humiliation, and weakness and most recently his come back and welcome to the same Masters 25 years later. Who would have ever thought that possible?
And who would ever think of blessing weakness? But that’s exactly what Jesus does. Blessed are the poor in spirit, those who weep and mourn, the meek, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, the merciful, the peacemakers. And let’s not forget Jesus on the cross, dying, and feeling abandoned. That is an image of weakness, not strength and power.
Weakness has a way of opening our eyes, ears, and hearts to a new and different way of seeing, hearing, and living. It shapes our lives in a way that power and strength not only cannot but that sometimes prevent. It gives our lives a Jesus shape. A cruciform.
If Jesus is our way, then our way is weakness. And maybe taking up our cross means taking up our weakness. So, what is your weakness today? Look at what troubles your soul and you’ll likely find a weakness there.
What if we stopped running way from our weakness? What if we stopped grasping for power to overcome our weakness? What would it be like to just name and hold your weakness, not out of resignation or defeat, but with faith and hope in the possibility of the impossible? Isn’t that the story of Jesus through Holy Week? Look at the liturgies and scriptures of this week. It’s one event of weakness after another.
I wonder what new life is calling from your weakness.
Let us pray:
We confess, we don’t like being weak at all.
You say that weakness is the Christian’s way,
but we were born and raised in America,
by strong people who taught us to work hard and be tough.
And yet, you say that the way to be strong is to be weak.
You say you will make us into people
who are content with weaknesses, insults,
hardships, persecutions, and calamities (2 Corinthians 12:10).
Help us, by your grace, to grasp the paradox.
May we cling to our crucified Savior,
who though he was God,
took on the weakness of human flesh.
Wrap us in the strong embrace of our risen and ascended Savior,
who for the joy of making us your children endured the shame of the cross.
Send us into the world,
weak and frail as we are,
to invite others to join us
in the only weakness that could ever strengthen us.
In Jesus’ strong name. Amen.
St. Paul’s – Wednesday in Holy Week – 4/13/2022
What comes to mind when you hear the name Judas? For most of us, I suspect, the first thing we think of is betrayal. Judas is the one who betrayed Jesus. Judas is the one who made a deal with the authorities. Judas is the one who sold out. Judas is the one who went out into the night.
Maybe the second thing that comes to mind is a sense of relief. The disciples looked at one another, uncertain who among them was the betrayer. Lord, who is it? one of them asks, but they all want to know. Their uncertainty and that question betray the possibility it could be anyone of them. I’ll bet Peter and the others breathed a sigh of relief when Jesus gave the piece of bread to Judas. You know what that’s like, right? Did you ever sit in class knowing the teacher was going to call on someone, looking at all the other students, and hoping it wouldn’t be you, but knowing it might be? Have you ever been called to a meeting after something happened, someone was in trouble, and the boss began by saying, Who…? And everyone looked around. Have you ever been in a situation where you knew someone was going to be named, picked, and you held your breath hoping it was anyone but you? And do you remember that sense of relief when it was Judas and not you? (At least not this time.) And you said to yourself, Whew, that was a close call.
We’ve all shared the disciples’ sigh of relief. The betrayal of Judas lets us off the hook. We can point to and look at him as a way, a reason, an excuse, to not look at ourselves. We refuse to see that there might be more to Judas than his betrayal of Jesus. And I wonder if that’s our betrayal of Judas. We so often hear the betrayal of Judas as meaning Judas is the subject, the one who betrays. But what about the betrayal of Judas in which Judas is the object, the one betrayed? Here’s why I ask that.
The only time we hear about Judas in the scriptures is at the end of the story. We know the end-of-the-story-Judas, the Judas who betrays Jesus, but what about the beginning-of-the-story-Judas? I want to hold these two Judases in tension. They go together. They are two aspects of his life. To privilege one over the other is a betrayal of his life. Would you want someone to pick out a single event from your life and say that it defines who you are, who you’ve always been, and who you will always be? I don’t. (Not unless I get to pick the event!) And yet that’s what we’ve done to Judas, what we do to people in our lives, and sometimes what we do to ourselves. No one is ever just one thing; not Judas, not you, not me.
Judas’ name appears in the four gospels twenty times. Nine times he is identified as a traitor, the one who betrays Jesus. And nine times he is identified as one of the twelve, one of the chosen, a disciple.I wonder what Judas felt the day he was chosen and numbered among the twelve? What did he feel when Jesus called his name? What were his hopes, and dreams? What excited him about Jesus? What gifts was he given? What was the promise he sought and followed in Jesus? With what was he entrusted?
He had to have been entrusted with something. I think we sometimes forget that side of Judas. Entrustment of some kind always comes before betrayal. You cannot betray unless you’ve first been given something to betray; love, friendship, trust, confidence, responsibility, a call.
Promise and risk always come together. Every promise is made and accepted with the risk it might be broken or not fulfilled in the way promised. Every gift is given with the risk it might not be opened, it might be returned, or it might be thrown away.
It’s not one or the other. It’s both at the same time. Before Judas was ever the betrayer he was an entrusted one. And aren’t we all? We’ve all been entrusted with something and we all carry the risk that we might betray that entrusting.
I think that’s the story of Judas. And it’s our story too. He is an image of ourselves. He holds before us the tension between trust and betrayal; a tension that lives within us, and a tension within which we live.
What does that tension look like in your life? Look at the people, relationships, opportunities in your life. Look at your values and beliefs, hopes, and dreams. With what have you been entrusted? What gifts and promises have been given you? In what ways are they calling to you? What are they asking of you? And how are you responding?
Don’t make this into a judgment, good or bad, right or wrong. Just recognize the complexities and contradictions that constitute our lives, that constituted Judas’ life. Let that inform and guide how you want to live.
And let’s not forget this one last thing about Judas. His feet were washed just like the feet of the other disciples. He was loved by Jesus with the same love as were the others. With all the complexities and contradictions of his life he had a seat at the table with Jesus. And so do we.
Let us pray….
Today, we reflect on Judas betraying You.
You invested countless hours in that relationship.
He was part of the core twelve disciples.
You brought him close, knowing the pain that he would inflict on You.
So, we take time to pause today because we come face to face with the Judas in us.
Our consumerism begs what’s in it for us.
Our pride makes us the captain of our ship.
Our sin leads us away from You.
Father, forgive us.
Create in us clean hearts.
Purify our motives and desires.
We are beggars for Your grace and mercy.
On this Spy Wednesday,
You forgiving us provides power to forgive others.
We can take time today
to consider those You’ve called us to reconcile.
This Holy Week stops us
in Your radical love for us and to each other.
Our hearts are grateful that You willingly chose to forgive us.
Now today, give us the strength to forgive each other.
We hold on to the promise that You bring beauty from ashes.
St. Paul’s – Maundy Thursday – 4/14/2022
You will never wash my feet, Peter says to Jesus.
What’s that about? What’s going on with Peter? I don’t know but I have a guess. I think it’s about more than having his feet washed. In fact, I don’t think it’s even about his feet. I think it’s about feeling vulnerable, exposed, and uncertain about taking his share in a new life. My guess is that there are parts of Peter that he is withholding not just from Jesus, but from himself. My guess is that Peter has a secret, a past that haunts him, a brokenness that terrifies him, a memory that is too painful to deal with; and that it feels easier and less risky to just say no, push it all away, ignore it, try to forget it, and hope it will leave him alone. Besides, who knows what might happen if he opened the door to any one of those things?
Do you know why that’s my guess? Two reasons. First, because I have parts of my life that I just don’t want to face or deal with; parts of me that I have alienated and exiled; memories and experiences that do not have a seat at my life’s table. I have slammed the door and declared them to be unwelcome visitors. Second, because I have seen and heard that same thing in the lives of others. I can’t count the number of times someone has said to me, I want to talk to you about something but I don’t know if I can. I have never told a soul about this. And sometimes they do, but often they don’t, they can’t. I get it. And if you have even the faintest idea, an inkling, of what I am talking about then you get it too.
Let’s not back down this time, not on this night. This is our night. So let me ask you:
- What is one secret you have about yourself,something you’ve done, or something that has happened to you? Something you have never uttered to another and that you never want anyone to know. It leaves you in fear of being found out. It’s the kind of thing you wish you didn’t know, the kind of thing you can ignore but can never forget.
- What are the memories, hurts, and griefs that are too painful to talk about? The very thought of them makes your stomach churn and your eyes well up. They’re the ones that when mentioned you quickly change the subject because you’re afraid you’ll just lose it and never get yourself back together again.
- What guilt, shame, embarrassment, or failure do you still carry? I’m talking about the kind of thing about which you fake a smile and say, I’m over that. The past is the past and let’s just keep it that way. But deep down you know the past is a ghost that still haunts you.
- What are the same old arguments, feelings, and patterns that continue to repeat themselves in your life? The ones that you excuse by blaming someone else or saying, That’s just who I am, or That’s just the way it is. What’s really behind those things begging to be acknowledged and dealt with?
- When have you said, You will never wash my feet? And what’s that really about?
Let’s not back down this time, not on this night.
This is our night.
This is our night to take our share with Jesus.
This is our night to bring all that we are and all that we have.
This is our night to eat and drink in remembrance.
This is our night to lay it all on the table.
This is our night to come clean.
This is our night to strip bare the altar of our life.
This is our night to let the healing begin.
This is our night.
Let us pray:
Let this night for us be a night of resolution.
Bless us with a renewed and enlarged awareness
of our need for grace.
A more honest reading of our frailty and sin.
A hope-building confidence in the durability of bread and cup.
A stretching of soul as we contemplate a foolishness with
You, Lord that is wiser than humans,
and a weakness with You that is stronger than humans.
This prayer we offer now in trust and thankfulness,
through Jesus Christ, our Lord. Amen.
St. Paul’s – Good Friday – 4/15/2022
If I were to ask you what this day is about, not to explain it but to just say what happened, you would probably say the crucifixion, meaning the death of Jesus. I don’t disagree with that. It is about that but is that all it’s about?
We tend to let the cross and Jesus’ death overshadow not only this day, but the entirety of our faith, as if it is the thing and the only thing. But what if it’s just one more thing, one among many? I’m not trying to diminish or negate the cross on this day. But there is more to Jesus, his life, and this day than just his cross and death. So I want to try to enlarge the meaning of the cross and this day.
I think what this day does is hold before us, with clarity, power, and challenge, the way Jesus was always truing and aligning himself to whatever stood before him in the moment, and on this day the cross is the culmination of that way of being. At any point along the way Jesus could have backed down, turned away from his life, and ignored the event of the moment. But he didn’t. He always responded to what was calling in the event of the moment.
- When the soldiers and police come to arrest Jesus he steps forward and asks, Whom are you looking for? Jesus of Nazareth, they say. I am he. He’s clear about who he is and he doesn’t deny it, even when he could, even when it might have benefitted him. He remains true to himself.
- Peter cut off the right ear of Malchus, the high priest’s slave. Put your sword back into it’s sheath, Jesus tells Peter. And in Luke’s account Jesus heals Malchus’ ear. He doesn’t run or fight back. He stays true to his nonviolent way. He remains a healer.
- During his interrogation by the high priest Jesus says, If I have spoken wrongly, testify to the wrong. But if I have spoken rightly, why do you strike me? In those words we hear Jesus’ alignment with truth.
- The cock crows an exclamation point to Peter’s three denials of Jesus. It happened just as Jesus said it would. And Luke tells us Jesus turned and looked at Peter. Peter turned away from Jesus but Jesus, true to himself, turns to his own. He was abandoned but he would not abandon.
- Why didn’t Jesus speak up before Pilate? Pilate wanted to release him. He could have said, I am not a king. I have no kingdom. I’m just an ordinary Jew. Caesar is King. But he didn’t. Jesus refused to play the world’s game of power.
- According to Luke Jesus said nothing to Herod. No answers, no argument, no defense, no excuses. He is who he is and he knows it. There was nothing to say. He was aligning himself with a peace that passes understanding.
- He was mocked, struck, spit upon, given a crown of thorns. And he did not turn away. He gave himself to a courage that is born of weakness and powerlessness.
- Here is your king, Pilate says. And Jesus carried his cross to Golgotha and there they crucified him, king and cross in complete alignment.
- Luke tells us that on the cross Jesus prayed forgiveness for his murderers. He protests the injustices done to him, not with revenge, but with forgiveness. Jesus aligned his life in such a way that justice for the unjust means forgiveness not punishment.
- In John’s account of the gospel Jesus unites his mother and the disciple whom he loved. Woman, here is your son. Here is your mother. Intimacy. Community. Love. Compassion. These are the qualities and values of a life trued to something beyond itself.
- Matthew and Mark tell us that Jesus cried with a loud voice, My God, my God, why have you forsaken me? In Luke’s account, however, Jesus says, Father, into your hands I commit my spirit. It’s not one or the other. It’s both at the same time. In one Jesus has come to his limit. In the other he opens to his future. Aren’t those what we are always trying to align in our own lives?
- It is finished. Those are Jesus’ last words in John’s account of the gospel. They are not words of defeat or the end of the story. They are Jesus’ recognition that his alignment with life, with the world, with you and me, with the call to which he was always responding, is now complete, fulfilled. It is finished.
All along the way Jesus was turning and aligning himself in two directions. He aligned himself with the people, events, circumstances, concerns, and needs that were before him regardless of who or what it was. We might think of this as his alignment with the horizontal axis of life. And he aligned himself with whatever was happening and being called for in the name of God: love, forgiveness, peace, mercy, justice, hospitality, healing, truth. We might think of this as his alignment with the vertical axis of life.
Do you get the picture I am drawing? Do you see what an aligned life looks like?
What does that alignment look like in your life today and what’s asking to be trued, calling for alignment?
Let us pray:
Ever-present God, on this Good Friday,
our whole world is engulfed in shadows
as we remember the story of Jesus’ death.
We confess that we want to push the fast-forward button on this familiar story
because it hurts so much.
It hurts to think of the betrayal and arrest of Jesus.
It hurts to imagine Jesus abandoned and suffering on the cross
with only a faithful few watching him breathe his last breath.
It hurts to watch your light overtaken by the shadows of the world.
We must find our place in this crucifixion story
and feel the pain that is there:
The pain of the world,
of faithless decisions; of betrayal; of injustice.
Jesus entered that pain out of faithfulness to You and to us,
to witness to the Truth that is Justice, Wholeness and Love.
We confess, we are afraid to enter this pain with Jesus.
Strengthen us with your courage;
offer glimpses of hope in the shadows of death;
let us know you are present with us here in this moment of pain;
now as always.
St. Paul’s – Holy Saturday – 4/16/2022
I am always struck by the contrast between this day, Holy Saturday, and the rest of Holy Week. The crowds, shouting, and turmoil of Good Friday have given way to silence and stillness. There is no meal or intimacy like on Maundy Thursday. The excitement and hope of Palm Sunday’s triumphal entry have ended with two women and a sealed tomb.
Look around. The chapel is bare and sparse. No candles, no decorations, no color. It’s stripped and barren. Lifeless.
The liturgy today is short. The readings are short. There is no Eucharist, no singing. Nothing special happens. We say a couple of prayers, hear how Jesus’ body was placed in the tomb, and with Job ask, If mortals die, will they live again? The entire liturgy of Holy Saturday will last about fifteen minutes. There is not much to say or do on Holy Saturday.
It leaves me wondering if it’s even worth the effort to get out of bed, get dressed, and show up.
And maybe that’s the point of today’s liturgy. You see, everything I just described is what Holy Saturday in life feels like.
Holy Saturday is the morning after: the morning after the funeral, the morning after he or she said, It’s over, and walked out, the morning after the diagnosis, the morning after your plans failed, the morning after your dreams were shattered, the morning after your life fell apart.
Every one of us has a morning after story. For some of you, today is Holy Saturday not just on the church calendar but in your life. You are living the morning after. And we all know that the morning after is not a single day. Sometimes the morning after lasts months or years leaving us to wonder if it’s worth the effort.
In whatever direction we look on the morning after there is a large stone blocking our way. Our future seems sealed and well guarded. It’s difficult, impossible, to see beyond the morning after. On the morning after we do not want the possibilities that are before us. We want the impossible. We want life, more life, a new life. And on Holy Saturday that looks impossible.
If mortals die, will they live again? Will we live again? Isn’t that really our question on Holy Saturday? We want the possibility of the impossible. We want a future.
And that future, the possibility of the impossible, comes to us in the Holy Saturday of our life. That’s why we make the effort to show up the morning after, and the one after that, and the one after that. We don’t know when or how the impossible will come to us, but let’s not miss it when it does.
On Holy Saturday we come to sit not just opposite the tomb but in opposition to the tomb. Holy Saturday is a sit in. We show up again and again with faith and hope to protest. Holy Saturday is our call to protest the large stone of death, trusting that someday, somehow, somewhere, we shall overcome.
We shall overcome.
Let us pray:
Lord of the Sabbath, Lord of Hosts,
There are so many things we do not understand
Help us to trust you
even when the situation is desperate and out of control
Help us to follow you
even when the way unclear
Help us to wait and rest
even when every bit of us screams to act
Build in us a faith that perseveres
Even when we can’t see you
Or feel you near
Your power and goodness are never diminished
Morning is coming
St. Paul’s – Easter Sunday –4/17/2022
I am always a bit relieved when our gospel reading for Easter is from St. Luke. He is the only one of the gospel writers to say that the women’s news of Jesus’ being raised sounded to the apostles like an idle tale. I like that. I like that the apostles thought this was an idle tale. I appreciate the company.
I’ve done enough funerals and had enough friends and loved ones die that I get why it sounds like an idle tale. This story just doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t fit my experience with death and I’ll bet it doesn’t fit yours either. Something about it didn’t match the apostles’ experience either.
Sometimes it does seem like an idle tale, sort of like looking at pictures of and hearing about somebody else’s summer vacation. You know what that’s like, right? Good for them, what about me? Good for Jesus, what about us? What good is it to us if Jesus has been raised and we are not?
I wonder, though, if we often misunderstand this story as being unique and exclusive to Jesus. What if it was never intended to be primarily about Jesus? Maybe this story is as much or more about what is happening to us as it is what happened to Jesus.
I don’t know what happened that first Easter Day. I don’t know how whatever did happen happened. But I have come to believe that this story is less about explaining, understanding, making sense of, or even believing what happened that day, and more about experiencing what that day means for you and me today. So I want to tell you three things I think this story means for us.
- First, it means a promise. It promises a future. And the force of the future is to prevent the present from closing in on us, from closing us up. 1 The promise means we can never say about our life, This is it,….This is all there is,…. or This is how it will
- always be. Our resurrection is not a future event, something yet to happen. It is a present and every day reality that promises us a future and the chance that this moment will be transformed and changed. Alleluia! Christ is risen.
- Second, it means we have hope. It means we have hope for our lives and the lives of those we love. We have hope for something absolutely new, a new birth, 2 a new life. We have hope that our lives matter. It means we have hope in the midst of our doubts and uncertainties, despite the riskiness of life, and when nothing makes sense and the odds are against us. This hope means that we live with a great ‘perhaps’ 3 and openness to the future. We hope against hope for the unexpected possibility of the impossible.4 Alleluia! Christ is risen.
- Third, it means a call. The resurrection is a calling on our lives. And this call awaits our response. We are being called to believe in life because life is precious beyond belief. 5 We are being called to appreciate the opportunities of every moment given us and to neither waste nor take for granted a single one. We are being called to live more fully alive and take the risk that there is always more life awaiting us even when it is unimaginable, unforeseeable, and seemingly impossible. The resurrection is wooing and calling us into life, more life, a new life. It is God’s yes to us and it asks us to answer, to act, to respond and take the beautiful risk (Levinas) of saying, Yes. Yes to life. Yes to more life. Yes to a new life. Alleluia! Christ is risen.
A promise, a hope, and a call. That’s what our resurrected life looks like. So let me ask you this:
- What is the promise giving you today? In what ways is it opening your life?
- What is your hope today, that deep hope against hope? What are you hoping for that seems too good to be true and against all odds?
- What is life calling for and asking from you today? What do you need to do or change in order to say yes?
I can’t answer those questions for you or tell you how you should answer. This is your resurrection. This is your Easter. This is your feast day. And that is true for every one of us here. Regardless of who you are, what you’ve done or not done, what has or has not happened in your life, what you believe or don’t believe, the promise remains, hope abides, and the call persists.
So, back to where we started. Is today’s story true or is it just an idle tale? I think that’s up to us. It is as true as we will let it be. Every time we claim the promise, hope against and hope, and say yes to life, this story is no longer just an idle tale. It becomes the truth of our lives, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth, not because we can prove, understand, or explain it but because we are living it right here, right now. That’s what I want, don’t you?
I want to live this story. I want to do the truth of this story every day. I want us to be the truth of this story. This is our day for a new life, for more life. And there is nothing holding us back. The tomb is empty and he is not here, and he has risen. So let’s leave this place like a bunch of crazy people possessed by life. Let’s seize the day.
Alleluia! Christ is risen.