Tuesday, April 5, 2016

The "Ayes" of the Beholder

I love the way this parish "does Easter."  I especially love how magnificent the flowers have been, rising to heights named in our Sunday gradual psalm as the "horns of the altar." Wow!  What beauty we are given to enjoy!

There's a beauty in all these resurrection events that are the stuff of our Sundays up to Pentecost.  If Jesus had really been there to play by the accepted rules of engagement -- think Peter's sword wielding or Judas' hand forcing or even worse the crowd's vehemence in shouting back to Pilate -- he would have had and he did have every reason to stand on the temple steps with his arms akimbo and spit while saying "I told you so."

The beauty is that he does nothing like that at all.  Instead he stays close to his disciples in their confusion and keeps doing the very same things he was doing before he died.

Look at that moment in Emmaus  "When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to them.  And their eyes were opened and they recognized him; and he vanished out of their sight." (Luke 24:30-31 RSV)

Do I need to recall the feeding of the 5000 for you?  Or perhaps your remember the upper room.
took, blessed, broke; took, blessed, broke; took, blessed, broke.

I think it is a beautiful thing that Jesus just keeps being Jesus, glorified for sure but still the one who faithfully led and taught and healed and fed.

His leadership is toward a total reorientation of sacrifice,  His teaching is that love is vehicle of God's blessing.  His healing restores those society had excluded.  His feeding is with bread taken, blessed and broken.

I have advocated for our church family to act like we've been raised with Jesus, to take on the posture of belief before we are even able to fully believe, to receive the gift of God's making us worthy.  I have advocated for these things because there is a magnificent beauty in us that we would otherwise squeeze down, cover in shame, and sink into self pity.

I get it that we do not deserve the gift of resurrection.  I don't get that we keep acting like the only way for us to enjoy it is to be physically terminated.  Like my favorite line from Bishop Alexander, "why do we keep acting like the jury is still out?"

Instead, let's allow and behold Jesus the beauty his heart desires, the beauty of his fulfilling sacrifice, the beauty of his consistent presence as one who takes, blesses and breaks.

As we stand to pray and celebrate on these Sundays we can let Jesus take us.  Our standing honors his intent by heading the right direction.  We can let Jesus bless us with a presence that calls us friends, brothers, sisters, beloved, worthy.  We can let Jesus break us to become more than we can imagine doing or becoming on our own.

Alleluia! Christ IS risen! The Lord IS risen, indeed! Alleluia!

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