Saturday, March 31, 2007

The Nugget, April 2007

“Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory
through our Lord Jesus Christ.
Therefore, my beloved, be steadfast, immovable,
always excelling in the work of the Lord.”
1 Cor. 15. 55-56

I have come to understand how active and busy this church can be, but the last few weeks have brought this to my attention like never before. The energy, enthusiasm and excitement surrounding our most recent activities has been remarkable. The Costa Rican dinner and silent auction, the Pancake Breakfast for Irish Days, and many other activities have been exhausting, but they have also been exhilarating and have brought out the best in us. (And have been very profitable for their respective causes – did I mention that?) And as I write this, Holy Week and Easter are still to come!

I thought Lent was suppose to be a time to pause and reflect? Lent is to be that, of course, but it is also a time of service and good works. And that we have been doing. Thanks to everyone who has shared in the recent activities and has made a positive contribution. My hope is that each one can find the time to rest and recuperate in the midst of all the activities and busyness.

Bishop Spong likes to say that the richest expression of Easter comes when it is exclaimed rather than explained.

Which is to say that Easter is not so much about how we talk about it, but how we experience it. The varied interpretations and meanings -- and arguments -- over the particulars of the resurrection are not nearly as important as whether or not Jesus is alive within us; whether or not our Savior is experienced by us and leads us to community and service.

When spring time rolls around, and when Easter draws near, you can be sure that there will be media reports of some new discovery that raises questions about the resurrection of Jesus. So it was with a sense of déjà vu that I read the news reports of the discovery of the purported remains of Jesus. Actually the claims that they had discovered the remains of him and his family -- including his wife Mary Magdalene (?!) – had been made some years earlier. What was new was a documentary film about these discoveries that had been released recently by a major Hollywood film maker.

After the film’s release certain scholars questioned the validity of some of the prime evidence that had been presented, nearly debunking the whole project. But did this put the issue to rest? Not at all. Any kind of publicity is good publicity in these matters. (Am I sounding cynical yet?)

Here is where I am going with all this: Whatever it is that keeps us focused on the explanation rather than the experience of Easter needs to be resisted. We can argue all we want about the particulars of what happened so long ago at the tomb of Jesus, but the only thing that really matters is whether or not we are experiencing the risen Christ. What is needed today is not a new argument, but a new experience of God that gives rise to acts of compassion and justice.

May God give each of us this Easter season a new awareness of the risen Christ, alive and active within us.

Steve Shepard
Interim Pastor

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