This morning I invite you into a conversation.
About where you see it and experience it.
About where and how in your life you “practice” it.
A conversation about hope.
About new life.
About that moment when, for you and others around you, the Kingdom of God is right here and right now.
As a prompt and to give you a moment to think, several brief reflections on resurrection. First, something I wrote this week for my blog.
The headlines are harsh.
Describing a reality I read about.
But do not know.
The tomb is real.
The bombs are real.
The fear is real.
The ruthlessness is real.
Yet, somewhere a stone is rolled back.
Just a bit.
And life pushes its way out.
Into the harshness of the headlines.
Refusing to bow down.
Or to be silent.
Or to hide.
Do I feel it?
Or see it?
But not always.
But it does not depend on me.
Beyond my seeing
It is there.
And these two reflections which Leslie Mott, our Coordinator for Spirituality and Practice, used in our Spirituality groups this past week. The first is a few lines from Wendell Berry’s poem, Manifesto: The Mad Farmer Liberation Front.
So, friends, every day do something that won’t compute.
Love the Lord.
Love the world.
Be joyful though you have considered all the facts.
And, this…. (I am not sure where this is from.)
“Once in a parish mission when I was studying this scripture with a large group (Luke 7: 11-17/Jesus raising a young man who had died), someone called our harshly, ‘Have you ever brought someone back from the dead?’ I had been saying that life happens when we are interrupted, and that some of the most powerful acts of resurrection happen to the least likely people; that we are the people of resurrection and hope, called to live passionately and compassionately with others, to defy death, to forgive, and to bring others back into the community, to do something that is life-giving, that fights death and needless suffering. And then this challenge from the back of the church.
My response was ‘Yes.’
I went on to say, ‘Every time I bring hope to a situation, every time I bring joy that shatters despair, every time I forgive others and give them back dignity and the possibility of a future with me and others in the community, every time I speak the truth in public, every time I confront injustice – yes – I bring people back from the dead.”
- Where/when/how do you bring people back from the dead or see them brought back from the dead?
- Where do you experience Easter?
- Where do you experience hope or forgiveness or welcome?
[Here we had a 10 minute conversation about where we see and experience Easter.]
And, to wrap up, two additional reflections…
John 21 (read the entire narrative yourself)
But here is what strikes me about this passage.
After the experience of the resurrection, whenever and however that happened, the disciples returned to Galilee, where they had lived their entire lives, and went fishing, which they had done their entire lives. It was there where they lived each day that they met Jesus. Maybe the same is true or can be true for us.
I had a second letter (the first letter was written to the children and shared earlier in the service) in my empty Easter basket this morning.
Dear Bedford Presbyterian Church,
Thank you for all you do to make the world a better place.
And, it makes a difference.
Today, I would like you to remember this.
Easter is, not Easter was.