READINGOld Testament: Exodus 12:1-14, Isaiah 51:9-11
Psalms: Psalms 148, 149, 150, 113, 114
Gospel: John 1:1-18, 20:19-23, Luke 24:13-35
Evening Psalms: 113, 114
DEVOTIONALHappy Easter! The Lord has risen, indeed!
That is the Jesus question. The work has been done. Jesus has done the unthinkable and left the tomb. Now what?
The Easter liturgies are my favorite of the whole Christian calendar. A few years back in LA, we were in the midst of celebrating five Easter services, and I remember feeling the presence of the Holy Spirit. While singing “I Am the Bread of Life,” tears practically came down my face, as I felt renewed in the presence of the Spirit.
Then came Monday. And all my normal life issues were still there: my anxieties, my weaknesses. What happened? Weren’t death and sin defeated…and all my problems, too?
It took me a few more years to realize that I only had Easter half right. I was willing to walk those 40 days of Lent, sit in the darkness of “the tomb,” reflect on my own weaknesses, and then proclaim the victory of Jesus as He defeated death by exiting the tomb.
But then I got stuck. Jesus defeated death, but He did not stick around in the tomb, celebrating His victory. His Good News was not meant to be holed up in a tomb, but to be lavishly shared with His followers on the outside. His disciples are visited where “peace” is gifted and the Holy Spirit comes upon them. Easter becomes less about recognizing the victory and more about receiving it.
While I was in Ecuador this past fall, my priest told me that proclaiming Christianity is meaningless unless I am living it, too. If not, then I am teaching from a tomb.
His words have lit a fire underneath my spiritual life. How often have I looked to Jesus through the sheltered and limited views of my own tomb? Do I turn to the resurrected Jesus every time I encounter challenges? When I struggle with my own sin? And do I have the faith that the resurrected Jesus will walk side by side with me, leading to my own spiritual resurrection?
Welcome to Easter: a time when we not only proclaim Jesus’s victory, but also kick down the doors of our own personal tombs. Like the disciples in today’s Scripture, we can do so knowing that Jesus will walk with us, side by side, as we take on all the dusty and dangerous roads to Emmaus in our own lives. Jesus is inviting us. See you out there.