Practicing the Resurrection

I had a friend on Facebook last week post that for pastors, the week after Easter is equal to Christmas vacation.  I don’t know what planet he’s writing from, but I’ve never known that to be the case.  This week following Easter I have two funerals, a youth retreat to prepare for, as well as the usual visitation, sermon and worship prep that comes with a standard work-week as a Pastor.  “Christmas-vacation” – as if!

I think that having funerals the week after Easter Sunday, or any time of the year for that matter, is kind of like putting your faith to the test.  “Do you really believe all that stuff you said last week?”  If Christ is raised, if we believe in a living savior who has conquered death and sin, how does that change the way you mourn the loss of a loved one?  How does that change your view of death, but also your view of the life you now live?

This week I have the opportunity to celebrate the victory of these two saints who have now joined the Church triumphant.  I celebrate their lives, I mourn their passing, and I anticipate with great hope and longing the day when we shall be brought together, those who sleep and those who live, as we meet the Lord in the air.

I heard about a mansion He has built for me in glory
And I heard about the streets of gold beyond the crystal sea
About the angels singing and the old redemption story
And some sweet day I’ll sing up there the song of victory.

O victory in Jesus my Savior forever
He sought me and bought me with His redeeming blood
He loved me ere I knew Him and all my love is due Him
He plunged me to victory beneath the cleansing flood.

SDG

The Lord is Risen – What Now?

Then the disciples went back to their homes.” John 20:10

Dear Friends,

“The Lord is Risen!  He is risen indeed!”

Now what?

It’s fascinating what John tells us happened after the disciples had discovered the empty tomb.  Mary had told them what she had seen, and John and Peter ran to the tomb to see for themselves.  They saw that the tomb was, in fact, empty.  The burial cloths were lying on the ground, the face cloth was folded neatly by itself.  But then, what happened?  John tells us quite simply, “Then the disciples went back to their homes.”

In a way, this still happens today.  Seven weeks ago we started a journey called Lent, a time of reflection and preparation for the suffering, death, and resurrection of Jesus.  We start the journey with ashes, we remember the Lord’s last supper with his disciples, we read the accounts of his death.  Then comes Easter, and we celebrate the Good News of his resurrection from the dead.  We shout “He is Risen.  He is risen indeed!”

Then we go home.

Monday comes after Easter Sunday, and we go back to life as usual, exhausted from the journey, but no different than before we started.

This should not be.  Jesus spent the next 40 days leading up to his ascension teaching the disciples to go out into the world to make know what had happened.  The book of Acts recounts for us what happened when the disciples followed this call.  They preached the risen Christ because they knew the risen Christ, and they knew the new life given by the risen Christ.  Through their sharing and living the Good News lives were changed.

The risen Christ changes lives.  If we believe that Jesus Christ is risen today, let’s not just sing it and celebrate it in worship, but let us let this joyous truth transform the way we look at the world.  No longer can we simply go back to our homes, to our offices, to our classrooms: we go into the world as a mission field.  Our homes, our offices, our classrooms are now our mission, places for us to take the Good News of Christ so that lives may be changed.

Friends, in the spirit of the resurrection, go into the world and let it be known that the Lord is risen.  He is risen indeed.

Grace and peace,

Pastor Ethan