We make little jokes in our church staff meetings that might seem irreverent to some. For instance, it was in a staff meeting that I was introduced to the Vintage 21 Jesus – because a certain person on staff, ahem, does a terrific impression. Yesterday, in the service planning for this coming Sunday, a remark was made about Easter being over. “You know Jesus is still risen, though, right?” I replied. Our associate pastor added, “That’s right. He doesn’t have to go back into the grave until the next Good Friday.”
But seriously. Most of us celebrate Easter for a day and then we’re over it. We go back to whatever our normal is, as if the unbelievable event hadn’t taken place. And the event is not the holiday, which will naturally come and go. I’m talking about the actual Resurrection. I truly believe that it took place, you know. For reals, as the young folks say these days. And that Resurrection was for all time. When Jesus came out of the tomb something was done that would never be undone, something was rewired in the universe and we live on the other side of that event. On the Christian calendar the 50 days that begin at Easter are called Eastertide. But really, don’t those who follow Christ live all of their lives in Eastertide? Once the stone table cracks, life never return to what was before.
It was my turn to choose a scripture reading for our staff meeting this week. I’ve been stuck in Ephesians 1 for the last several days, particularly in this bit, verses 18-21:
I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every name that is invoked, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.
I am trying to wrap my mind around this. What power is at work in me? The same power that raised Christ from the dead. The very same. Resurrection power in me.
So how can we say: this habit is too ingrained in to ever be broken; this hurt is too deep to ever heal; this relationship is too damaged to ever be restored; this betrayal is too great for me to every forgive? How can we be people of such limited vision and limited hope when we not only live our lives on this side of Resurrection, but have Resurrection living in us?
So, fair warning. I’ve decided that I’m not done with Easter. I’m not packing the Resurrection away until the church calendar tells me it’s time to pull it out again. I’m going to keep it in front of my face until “the eyes of my heart are enlightened”, and I begin to grasp that the hope of the Resurrection is not just out in the future, not just a promise that death has lost it’s sting (as fantastic as that is). The Resurrection is hope for this moment, that I am empowered to live in the Kingdom of God, to be transformed into the likeness of the risen Christ.
You nine steady readers, I hope you won’t get sick of it. But at least for the duration of the church calendar’s Eastertide, I’m going to post things that keep this party going. I’ve already got some things in mind for later this week….
Alleluia. Christ is risen. The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia