Dear Sisters and Brothers,
Grace and Peace to you in the Name of the Risen Christ! Easter is a season, not just a day. Which means we get to explore and proclaim God resurrected for 50 days, not just one Sunday. In the Easter Season we’re not waiting anymore, we’re not looking forward to a major festival day, this is the moment for us. In the most profound sense- all we have is now, all we have is what is around us.
Writer Nora Gallager comments, “In the parables, the kingdom of heaven is everywhere, and it’s both visible and invisible. The more we know from the work of physicists, the more we know of the visible and the invisible, the wave and the particle. We know that the very material from which life arose was dust blown here from some distant star that we will never see.” The life, death and resurrection of Jesus all point to the kingdom of God on earth right now, right here. The immediacy of the situation cannot be overstated. Indeed, arising from seeming nothingness is the resurrection. The event and remembering of the resurrection is eternal life present here on earth right now.
What’s more, the resurrection is sheer grace present for us. In the resurrection, God, who became human to encounter us and history, has achieved the goal of salvation for all people for all time. The question for us, then, becomes, how might we respond to all this Grace? It’s a tough question, for sure. But, Jesus gives us some guidance in Matthew 22:37-40 “[Jesus] said to him, ‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and the first commandment. And a second is like it: “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and prophets.”
Loving God first. I find loving God first requires a bit of practice. It’s tough not to get stuck in my own head- either in self-recrimination or in ego inflation. It take practice not to worship the false idols of money, stuff, prestige. But we have powerful support in helping us love God first in regular worship, confession, prayer, and other spiritual disciplines. I find I need to remind myself the goal here is participation not perfection. What’s more, because all we have is now- we are forced to focus on the forgiveness and grace offered for our past, live in the love of the now, and let go of the anxiety of the future. Loving God is a wonderful response to Grace. We’re invited into the practice.
Loving our neighbors as ourselves is another response to the resurrection. Having prepared ourselves to serve by putting God above everything else, we can turn to the needs of the world. After all, God calls us to BE the church, which we are doing really well. Opportunities to serve are abundant here. From Sunday Hospitality to everything the outreach committee takes part in, you’re invited to get in where you fit in. If you’d like to start something, you’re invited to do so!
So much Grace, so little time!