It’s the Eve of the 4th Sunday of Easter, and we’re still basking in the glow of Easter Day. At my table at supper last night we were discussing how Texas has already reached temperatures of 95 degrees, and in Mississippi the tulips and dogwood flowers are but a faded memory. But here in New England the flowers are just now popping up and the new foliage has that bright minty green hew. This year’s winter has been hard, but praise God, the signs of resurrection are now all around. How interesting then it is to hear today’s gospel on this side of Easter.
Those who had been following Jesus had a different idea of what Easter was supposed to look like. They could buy into Jesus’ message of freedom and redemption, but they were hoping for freedom from the iron grip of Rome. When they realized that Jesus was speaking about freedom of a spiritual nature, they left and returned to their homes. How disheartened Jesus must have felt as he turned to his chosen inner circle and asked, “Are you going to leave me also?”
But if we’re honest, I think most of us can identify with the crowd’s confusion and disappointment. In our society and culture today we have been programmed to believe that Easter is somewhere out there. If we work hard enough, act the right way, have the right clothes, surround ourselves with the right friends, and are willing to spend a certain amount of money, then we too can have our own slice of Easter, made to order. How many times have we all bought into this lie of self-fulfillment only to have our hopes nailed to a cross? In my own pilgrimage, I have felt Jesus hand on my shoulder many times and heard him say, “Please don’t leave me, your Easter is here!”
That is the good news. If we know Jesus, then we already have Easter….and it is more than what we could ever find in the world. The Psalmist writes, “Lord, I love the house in which you dwell and the place where your glory abides.” (1) That place of glory is not a place to search for but is in fact here in this chapel in the tabernacle which an icon of the human heart…..your heart. What you’re searching for, you already know. God has blessed us with this amazing life, with eyes to see, ears to hear, a mind discern, and a heart in which to perceive the living presence of God in our midst.
You may be at a place in your life where you are basking in the glow of Easter and have fully come to know God’s blessing. But if you’re still searching, then pause and take a moment to make Peter’s prayer your own: “Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life.” Christ is risen, the Lord is risen indeed! Your Easter is here. Alleluia!
- Psalm 26:8
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