Easter. It’s about the realized promise of the Good News that, no matter what, the unconditional love of God is with the “very good” humankind created by the Holy One. It’s about the trying times and the ever-present reassurance that God’s love supersedes everything!
Discomfort is woven into the message of Easter. We struggle through the anxiety symbolized by the watchful eye of the Roman guard two millennia ago. We weep over the thought of a “last Supper” – none of us likes a last anything. We cringe at the enforced solitude imposed upon Jesus in the hours after his arrest. We turn our heads and shudder at the blunt thunder of each blow of the crucifixion’s nails. We stuff our ears so we don’t have to hear the cry, “It is finished.”
Somehow, after the hell of the Holy Week we emerge. We decorate our worship centers. In song we pledge to “lift high the cross.” We tighten our ties (that we’ve abandoned because they chafe our necks!). We dress up our little girls and little boys in their “Easter finest.” Families gather. We have big meals. People reminisce – yes, there’s actually conversation! All sounds rather post-funeral like, doesn’t it?
Change is the real message of Easter. The new order for the new humanity. Viewing life through the windshield rather than by the rear-view mirror. Honestly acknowledging the present. Embracing the hope of the future.
Change is the challenge of Easter. Stepping out, looking up, past the horizons (instead of looking down like through the glass floor of the Willis Tower at Chicago’s streets one hundred stories below!). Acknowledging Jeremiah’s prophesy that, indeed, God has a plan to prosper us (Jeremiah 29.11). Knowing, and believing that we are part of God’s “new creation” (2 Corinthians 5.17) Being willing to understand that who is our brother and who is our sister and who is our mother (Matthew 12.46-50) means that all people are our family. Accepting the invitation to sit at a table with someone who don’t know…or, more challenging, sitting at a table with someone we don’t like…or, even more challenging yet, sitting at a table with someone we’ve dismissed.
Change is the invitation of Easter. Believe…everything (Matthew 28.20). Be unafraid. Be still (Psalm 46.10). Journey, accompanied by The Guide. Trust. See the clear vision (1 Corinthians 13.12). Risk. Be bold (Acts 4.31). Be less defensive (Matthew 26.52). Be together (John 17.11). Be unjudgmental (Luke 7.36-50). Know that you’re OK (John 4). Be welcoming (Matthew 19.14).
Comfort is also woven into Easter, in the form of change. Move from being stuck, blaming and silencing others, to becoming a new person, with an open mind, a gracious heart and the joy of God’s Resurrected, Eternal presence in Jesus Christ!