01 May How Easter Opens
Easter is about openings. Jesus’ tomb was no longer closed but was opened on Easter. After the Risen Jesus appeared to his followers, they no longer stayed behind closed doors but opened themselves to public lives of witness and service. Some even opened themselves to the persecution and rejection of others. They witnessed to resurrection with their lives.
Easter assures us that fear is an illusion, a failure to see reality clearly. Easter puts us in touch with an undying life and a level of love which casts out fear. Imagine being able to so live into the Easter reality that we could live totally in love and without fear! This is our invitation to live fully enough into the Easter reality that we become a new creation in Christ.
I mentioned back in November when my plans for retirement first became public that I did not want for my final year to be one long farewell tour. I said that I wanted my focus to be on the liturgical calendar. As Christians the sacred story should always be our primary focus, for in it lies the seeds for what we truly need and want—new life.
I will continue to relish and lift up the church calendar in the seasons of Easter and Pentecost, but I will also begin to acknowledge the looming reality of my retirement and the change that it portends. Change is synonymous with life. Without change, life ceases to be. And change (and life too) also brings uncertainty and challenge. Part of going through change well means opening ourselves to the impact that change has upon us.
I am looking forward to a new chapter in my life with Rosanne and I am also anxious about how leaving a pattern of life which I have known for nearly forty years will impact me. Two opposite things can be true at the same time. I have a picture of what lies ahead, but it is also true that the journey will be filled with unknowns. The same is true for the church. There may be losses and there may be gains. What we can count on is that God is in it all working for our good.
Have courage to be open to what is going on in you in this time of change. And know that Christ is present in it all, bringing us to greater depths of life and love. Easter opens us to accept whatever deaths come to us with promises that greater life lies on the other side. See you in church!