First of all, Happy Easter. As I sit down to write this post, I can hear the rain falling outside my window. This is probably the coldest Easter I have ever spent. But it was a good one. I hope it was for you as well.
Over the course of Lent, I have been writing and reading prayers each week at the North End Collective Church where I've been attending since I moved into the neighborhood. It's been a six week, fast and furious writing exercise. Looking back on the experience, I was stretched in ways I had not anticipated. I learned things about myself and about the ways I communicate... I was given a platform for a different kind of public expression. It was a fantastic and altogether humbling experience.
So, I'd like to share with you what I read today for Easter. The verses in bold were read out loud by the congregation.
Here you go:
In France, they don't use the phrase "Happy Easter." They use a phrase that I won't pretend to be able to pronounce, but it's translated: the love of God is folly, ridiculous, extravagant, overwhelming.
We find ourselves at resurrection Sunday, the season of lent is over. This is the day that the rhythm of our spiritual practice hinges on. So, I'd like to start at the beginning of everything.
Because it says, "In the beginning was the word, and the Word was God, and the Word was with God."
John 1:4 says
In Him was life, and that life was the light of all people. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.
Whenever I think of the Easter story, I can't help but reach for the Christmas story. Mary bears a child in a barn, in the desert, as Joseph watches and hopes to divorce her quietly after this craziness is all over.
I'm learning that every act of creation requires us to be present and to keep breathing. Breathing is important.
I imagine the very first cry of that baby peeled back the night sky and there was a collective sigh as there always seems to be when we witness the birth of new life.
Can you imagine the silence of that followed that exact moment? The wonder struck silence.
2 Cor. 4:7
But we have this treasure in earthen vessels to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us.
Thirty three years later, Jesus is put on trial, beaten, and bloody, forced to carry a cross where he hung for three hours. Finally it says that he uttered the words: it is finished. And he breathed his last.
I imagine this was an altogether different silence. A collective gasp as there always seems to be when we witness a death. Can you imagine that silence? A devastated silence.
2 Cor. 4:8-9
We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.
On the morning of His resurrection, Mary Magdalene went to the tomb but found it empty. It says she stood at the entrance of the tomb and began to weep. But when she looked up, there were two angels standing guard at the tomb.
I imagine that sight took her breath away; I know it would mine. Can you imagine that moment of silence? Of dawning realization?
2 Cor. 4:10-11
We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus' sake, so that his life may also be revealed in our mortal body.
We are alive. We live to tell this story of our redemption. Because of this sacrifice, we are set free to love God and love each other with our whole heart forever.
You must remember this, every single one of you: as the human race, as the body of Christ, as specific and unique individuals- You were born out of the breath of God. There is purpose and artistry in your humanity. Out of the breath of God, we breathe deeply, we give life and artistry back to God, back to each other everyday.
Because He is risen.
He is risen indeed!
And as for your journal prompt... here it is:
Write about a moment in your life that truly took your breath away. It can be a great moment. It can be a tragic moment. It can be a huge moment that changed the course of your life. It can be a small moment that you never saw coming. There are no wrong answers here. Just be honest and be as descriptive as possible.
This Is Not The End,