Tuesday, April 7, 2015
“Easter people, raise your voices, sounds of heaven in earth should ring. Christ has brought us heaven’s choices; heavenly music, let it ring. Alleluia! Alleluia! Easter people, let us sing.”
So proclaims one of the great songs of resurrection and faith. Proclaim the good news of the resurrection and all that it means for us and for, as the Gospel of John writes, all the world.
And yet, we can become so used to the idea of Easter that it fails to provoke any spiritual growth in our lives. We become complacent and content, moving back into our lives without further reflection. But we miss a great opportunity to grow merely by reflecting on the story of Easter. How does this story change us as a people, as a congregation, and as followers of Christ?
I would like to suggest that the answer to these questions might very well be found in the post-resurrections stories themselves.
After the resurrection, Jesus appears to a variety of people in a variety of settings. However, the one theme that stands out in these encounters is that Jesus has changed. In the story of the road to Emmaus in the Gospel of Luke we see this most clearly. Jesus was not immediately recognized.
As Peter Bush said of this story, “Notice that they did not even comment to the stranger who was walking with them, ‘You look a lot like this Jesus we are talking about.’ They did not say to one another after they recognized Jesus in the breaking of the bread, ‘I knew there was something about him that was familiar.’ The way Jesus looked post-resurrection was different from the way he had looked before he went to the cross – different enough that he could not be recognized.”
What I would suggest is that our faith is transformative. And while you and I may not experience the same radical transformation that Jesus underwent, our faith can fundamentally change our lives. I know of many people who, after committing their lives to God have become different people. In my own life I can look back and see transformations that came about by my willingness to hear the direction of the Spirit. Our faith is to shape who we are becoming.
It is my hope that as a church and as individuals, we will allow our faith to become that which enables us to be transformed by God and thereby transform the world around us. Instead of simply going to church, let us become the church. May our lives be such that our faith is evident. May we be transformed by Easter and may we continue to grow in our Christian walk.
“Every day to us is Easter, with its resurrection song.” If we allow the message to take root, it very well might be the transformative message that we and the world are longing to hear.
Grace and Peace,