This Resurrection Life
It's still the Season of Easter for several more weeks---at least in the historic Church calendar, which I think we would do well to pay attention to.
These historical rhythms of the Church help those of us who say that we want to follow Jesus to remain focused on the implications of the Christian faith for our lives and the world around us.
I grew up in a faith tradition that never noticed these rhythms. The Evangelical Christian movement spurned these things in favor of non-traditional, non-liturgical forms of faith and worship.
Interestingly, that's all changing. More and more Christian faith communities who used to turn up their noses at what they assumed to be "high church" practices are discovering them and finding them enriching.
So it's during this Season of Easter that we get the chance to celebrate the Resurrection a bit longer and to actually wrestle with what it means that Jesus has risen.
To that end, I recently read an excellent post online by Joan Chittister, an author and Benedictine nun, who said this about the Season of Easter:
After Easter, the tomb stands open for all of us to enter. If Jesus is risen, then you and I have no choice but to go into the tomb, put on the leftover garments ourselves, and follow Jesus back to Galilee where the poor cry for food and the sick beg to be taken to the pool and the blind wait for the spittle on their eyes to dry. All the fidelity in the world will not substitute for leaving the tomb and beginning the journey all over again. Today. Every day. Always.
I don't know about you, but this seems so beautiful to me and also an incredible challenge. The imagery of stepping into the tomb and taking on the garments of Jesus is symbolic of our own journey after Easter.
The truth of the Resurrection is only realized when those of us who say we believe in it learn to lean more fully into it. To do anything less denies the Resurrection and everything it means for you, me, and everyone.
If we are to be Resurrection people, then we need to understand that the Divine rhythm of dying and rising must be embodied if it is to be understood by a world that desperately needs the hope that Resurrection brings.
In other words, you and I must not just say that we believe in the Resurrection; we must show it.
And we show it by emulating the work of Christ by speaking grace and peace into spaces where there seems to be neither.
We show it by trusting in the hope within us when it feels like hope is gone. We show it by doing the hard work of restoration and reconciliation in a culture that often feels neither is possible.
Sometimes this Resurrection life we are called to live eludes us, which is all the more reason why we need to keep (in the words of the Apostle Paul) dying to ourselves every single day.
Even when it's hard to trust in the outcomes, we need to keep putting on the Risen Christ's garments, practicing our faith's good practices, and letting those practices and garments be enough for the moment.
So during this Season of Easter, find ways to live the Resurrection life, even as you may wonder if the dead, dry bones of your faith might never live again.
You may discover that by living and acting as the hands and feet of Christ, you may discover yet again that you are indeed his very hands and feet, scarred though they may be.
May it be so, and may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.