Sunday, April 12, 2009

April 12, 2009 "Right here, right now!"

Alleluia Christ is risen! The Lord is risen indeed! Alleluia!

Lent is over, and this is the last of my lenten blog. This is mostly adapted from this mornings sermon.

After seminary, my wife Anne, and my children, Colin and Suzanna, and I moved to Virginia just a few miles from the Manassas / Bull Run battlefield.

A few weeks after settling in we went to visit the battlefield. Suzanna had was not quite 4 years old. In the visitor center, we’d seen an interactive presentation, with sound, and video clips, and loud recordings of rifle and cannon fire.

That night she wouldn’t go to sleep. Finally when I asked her what was the matter she told me she was afraid, because that war we’d visited earlier in the day was scary and very close to her house.

I explained to her that the war was over, and that the fighting we’d seen was a story about something long ago.

In fact there were annual re-enactments of both of the battles at that place, sort of a historical "memorial service."

There is a tendency to think about Easter that way too.

Sometimes we act as though our Easter services are a sort of memorial service. A service to commemorate something that happened a long time ago.

But Easter is much more like something else I saw when we lived in Virginia. Living as close as we did to Washington, D.C. for 6 years, I had many opportunities to go to the city and many opportunities to play tour guide.

If you’ve been, you know it’s a city full of memorials. You can walk past the Vietnam Memorial, the Korean War Memorial, the World War II Memorial.

And when you go past these memorials you hear snippets of conversations. And there are three kinds of people you hear.

You hear the tourist, for whom the memorial is just that, a memorial.

Then you hear the "second generation" conversations. The memorial holds some meaning because a grandfather, father, son, uncle, brother, mother, sister, grandmother, or other relative was in the war.

But the third group of visitors are the veterans. When they get to the memorial, it is not just a memorial. They are often transported to a very real and still very present reality that shapes their lives to this day. For them, the memorial brings something that happened in the past right into the present.

And that is why Christians celebrate Easter. Not to memorialize something that happened a long time ago.

Easter is more like a party being given for a special guest. And our guest is Jesus. Because what happened on Easter is still happening. The one who rose on Easter is not far away, a long time ago, but here, right now by the power of the Holy Spirit.

I love the Narnia books, have very much enjoyed the Harry Potter books, and have read some of the Twilight series books.

And what I enjoy most about those books is that there is another world, living right beside us in what seems to be our so humdrum world.

Easter means that the Risen Jesus is right here, right now, and we can ask him to enter our lives just as he entered the lives of the disciples that Easter morning.

Come Lord Jesus. Amen.

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