Easter is over…or is it?

See the source imageWe’ve made it through Lent…through Holy Week…through Easter. It wasn’t like we’ve done it in the past. We weren’t able to gather together with family and friends. We didn’t share in church services with wonderful music and messages. We didn’t get to have Easter egg hunts with our children and grandchildren.

In some ways, it was just another day to get through. And we’ve made it through. Easter 2020 is over.

But is Easter really over?

The day is…but not Easter. Easter isn’t just about one event on one day. It’s about a way of life.

True, on Easter we celebrate a resurrection. But the spirit of that event is ongoing life! It’s a continual resurrecting!

It’s seeing new life beginning, even in the middle of darkness. It’s hope in the midst of despair.

So while we’ve “finished” with Easter 2020…we’re not through with Easter. Not really.

We’re living in the middle of uncertainty, just as they did 2000 years ago. We don’t know how life is going to turn out…the same kind of questions they had 2000 years ago.

But if we live in the spirit of resurrecting, we have hope that death is not the end…and that the spirit of love will bring new life.

Happy resurrecting!

Holy Saturday…Dark Saturday…

How do I come today? I just feel out of sorts–discombobulated. Part of me wants to just sit…eat everything in sight…play video games all day–but another part of me wants to be busy doing creative things. And I end up feeling paralyzed.

What do I desire? To get unstuck!

I think this is what it must have felt like that Sabbath of Easter weekend! I’ve said before that it was long and dark–but we’re living it now in many ways.

There’s a major trauma. Life as we’ve known and experienced it is over–and we’re stuck at home, not sure what the future holds.

Just like Jesus’ followers.

So how did they pass the time? Thinking about how good life was “before”? being angry at what happened? blaming God? crying? going back through scripture to see what they had missed?

Probably all of that.

So in a lot of ways that gives me hope for where we are today. The feelings that we have are normal…

And we know what happened after that Sabbath.

Yes, life as they knew it had ended–but a new way of life was beginning. We know that.

So maybe–just maybe–we’re in that dark Sabbath time right now, wondering what’s happened to us. But a new day will dawn–bringing with it a new way of life.

I don’t have any idea what that will look like any more than Jesus’ followers did. But I think we’ll find him calling us–asking us to create a new way of living…a new community…that can change our world. If we don’t give up hope…

Holy Week…2020

This week between Palm Sunday and Easter is going to be unlike any Holy Week most of us have ever experienced.

Normally we would have gathered in large groups yesterday…watched (and perhaps joined with) children parading around the sanctuary, waving palm branches in memory of Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem.

We would be gathering together for Maundy Thursday services, sharing in commemoration of that last supper.

Many of us would be sharing in a Tenebrae service on Friday night as we go into the darkness.

And then we would be gathering in more large groups, celebrating the Resurrection with family and friends…enjoying Easter egg hunts and dinners with family…

But not this year.

This year most of us are staying home…unless there is an urgent need to go out for groceries or medications.

We are not getting to see each other face-to-face. Some of us have been able to share in services via Zoom or other media platforms, and while that’s provided some wonderful opportunities, it’s not quite the same.

But maybe this week is allowing us to experience more truly what that first Holy Week was. There weren’t large crowds at the events. People were worried, uncertain of what the future was going to hold.

Some of you may have seen this post by Rev. Allison Lanza on Facebook. But if you haven’t, I think it’s an important read…something to ponder as we go through this Holy Week.

The very first Easter was not in a crowded worship space with singing and praising. On the very first Easter the disciples were locked in their house. It was dangerous for them to come out. They were afraid. They wanted to believe the good news they heard from the women, that Jesus had risen. But it seemed too good to be true. They were living in a time of such despair and such fear. If they left their homes their lives and the lives of their loved ones might be at risk. Could a miracle really have happened? Could life really had won out over death? Could this time of terror and fear really be coming to an end?

Alone in their homes they dared to believe that hope was possible, that the long night was over and morning had broken, that God’s love was the most powerful of all, even though it didn’t seem quite real yet. Eventually, they were able to leave their homes, when the fear and danger had subsided, they went around celebrating and spreading the good news that Jesus was risen and love was the most powerful force on the earth.

This year, we might get to experience a taste of what that first Easter was like, still in our homes daring to believe that hope is on the horizon. Then, after a while, when it is safe for all people, when it is the most loving choice, we will come out, gathering together, singing and shouting the good news that God brings life even out of death, that love always has the final say.

This year we might get the closest taste we have had yet to what that first Easter was like.

Easter blessings

Easter cartoon

I saw this cartoon on Facebook and thought it was a fun way to think about Easter. For those of you who may not be familiar with Schrodinger, he was an Austrian physicist who created a hypothetical thought experiment. It involved placing a living cat into a chamber with a hammer, a vial of acid, and a small amount of a radioactive substance. If there was any decay of the radioactive substance, a relay mechanism will trip the hammer which will break the vial of acid and cause the cat to die. The observer doesn’t know whether that decay has happened and so doesn’t know whether the cat is alive or dead…so, the cat is both alive and dead until someone looks in the box.

So…what about Jesus? Dead or alive? or dead and alive? or …?

We know he died. And we also know he is alive–whether that is a physical life, a spiritual life, or life in us. And so that’s why I am amused at this cartoon…I hope you are, too.

But regardless…I wish you Easter blessings of peace and joy…and hope!

Paris is no longer burning…response?

The fire at Notre Dame is out and we are beginning to see pictures of the damage…which, while horrific, is not as severe as everyone feared. Some of the significant works of art and relics were saved, and the main organ appears to have survived. The smaller organ may not have been as fortunate, but that is yet to be determined. And it appears that what is left of the cathedral is structurally sound.

Praise God for the firefighters who battled for hours, sometimes risking their lives, to save as much as possible of the cultural, artistic, and spiritual symbol.

And I am grateful for the many people who have stepped up to donate for the rebuilding of Notre Dame.

But it also makes me wonder.

What is it about this building that has caused such an outpouring of financial support?

What about the many other needs? These are just a few:

  • The black churches in Georgia that were burned because of white nationalism?
  • The people of Puerto Rico who are still struggling to recover from their last hurricane?
  • The people of Flint, many of whom still do not have clean water?
  • The immigrants who are trying to find a better life for their families, but who instead have often found their families torn apart and still have not been reunited?

I’m not saying that we shouldn’t help Notre Dame. But if Notre Dame calls us to worship Christ, then that call is to

  • feed the hungry.
  • visit the sick and those in prison.
  • clothe the naked.
  • take in the stranger.

Buildings are important symbols…but they are just that. If their meaning is of value, then we need to live out what they call us to.