It is always a joy to reach Easter Sunday. Immersed as I am in Holy Week and the services where we remember the Last Supper and Jesus’ crucifixion, sometimes it seems like Easter Sunday can’t come soon enough. And now today, at last, it is here! Rejoice! Sing our alleluias! Praise God, Christ is Risen Indeed!
One of the most memorable sermons I’ve ever heard on Easter contained the phrase “Easter people.” Who are we? Who are Christians? We are an Easter people. We only exist as a church community because Jesus rose from the dead. That is who we are- we believe in Jesus’ resurrection. We are an Easter people.
What does it mean to be an Easter people? It means we see the world through Easter lenses. Where the world sees death, we see the promise of resurrection. Where the world sees pain, we see the promise of healing and renewal. Where the world sees injustice, we see the promise of the eternal justice of God where all will be revealed. Where the world sees sin, we see the possibility of forgiveness. We are God’s Easter people.
That is significant for us as individuals because we know that we have a God who is always ready to forgive, who is able to bring peace & healing, and who has conquered death for us. But it is also significant for us as a church.
Last year I read a book that described how we “Claim Resurrection” in the church. To do so, we must be being willing to die to the old in order to allow God to bring new life. I have spoken of this book before. One of its first recommendations for churches seeking renewal is to “make room.” It counsels church leaders to make room in their hearts for something new, for saying “yes” to new possibilities, and to make room physically in the church building (clean out the closets, make the rooms as accessible and usable as possible). Be ready for when God brings something new to our attention – and say “yes” to the new.
None of the disciples that Easter morning knew what their life would be like as God’s Easter people, and as much as we try, we rarely know all that God has in store for us. But we do know this: freed and forgiven, we are an Easter people. We need not fear change. We can clean out our closets and be prepared to embrace the new life God brings.
Christ is Risen! He is risen indeed!