In these days after our annual celebration of the Resurrection story, I continue to bask in the afterglow of that world-changing, death-shattering event. Like millions of other believers, I observed the day in worship, caught up in the amazing good news that never ceases to inspire. Singing Wesley’s powerful Christ the Lord is Risen Today with hundreds of others was once again emotional, in a holy and spiritual way. I actually choked up on a few of the alleluias! It is a powerful moment. “Soar we now where Christ has led, Alleluia!”
However, in order to “soar,” Easter must be more than a one-day event. If we put all our eggs in one basket (pun intended), then we have missed the message of the resurrection and the glory of it all. Our tendency is to invest ourselves in preparations, both spiritual and secular, that lead to Easter morning, and then all-too-quickly get back to the routine, daily grind. When Easter becomes an “event” rather than an “experience” we close ourselves to the joy and hope of the resurrection renewing us and all of creation.
Our faith boldly proclaims that the Risen Christ is with us. The announcement as recorded in Mark 16 simply says that “he is going ahead of you to Galilee” and in so doing tells us that all we need to know for an Easter faith that transforms us. It means that in all I do, I working in the presence of the living Christ. Whether writing or visiting, working or playing, reading or meeting, I am never alone and never attempting any project on my own. He is always ahead of me, leading me, pulling me, empowering me, and encouraging me.
In reading the Gospel accounts, I am always struck by the fact that, according to Mark, the Risen Christ returns to Galilee. There is something appealing about going back to those places of teaching and healing, back to the place where the disciples were first called and inspired to follow him. It is a sign, for me, that Jesus is alive in the daily work to which all of us have been called and sent. It is a sign that the resurrection message is not about returning to business as usual, but rather to a renewed life that is shaped by the Easter faith. It means developing those “holy habits” that Wesley often detailed, and paying attention to the movement of the Spirit that more often than not surprises us along the way.
In these days after Easter, and the new life and hope that the resurrection generates, I find the words of N. T. Wright most insightful: “Hope is what you get when you suddenly realize that a different worldview is possible, a worldview in which the rich, the powerful, and the unscrupulous do not after all have the last word. The same worldview shift that is demanded by the resurrection of Jesus is the shift that will enable us to transform the world.” (Surprised by Hope, page 75)
“Following our exalted Head, Alleluia!”