What a glorious Easter we shared at Hayes Barton! The beautiful weather, the birds singing at the Sunrise Service, the celebratory sounds of brass at the Traditional Services, the exquisite palm branch and lily-adorned cross in Lighthouse, and the large crowds bringing great energy and joy. All of it was amazing!
Since that extraordinary morning, I’ve spent time thinking about the challenges we face as we seek to live into the Easter promise that dwells within each of us. The same power that we praised in our Easter worship services is the power of the Holy Spirit, but what happens to it when we face difficulties constructed by our circumstances or by the world as they push against our resurrection hope? I believe that the vast majority of us are sincere in our desire to live into lives transformed by God’s strength, but where does our resolve go after we move beyond the excitement of Easter morning?
Of course, the answers to these questions are personal; even so, I think it is helpful for us to know that we are not alone as we struggle to be faithful, to do more than admire the glow of Easter from a distance. Here’s what I know for sure: many of us struggle to be faithful; however, new insights and freedom are birthed in the thick of darkness. We live out, over and over again, the tomb to resurrection story. And as we move forward from bleakness to joy,
the Holy Spirit gives wisdom and life to our deep desire to live in the ways of Jesus Christ.
The Spirit is also the motivating force and healing power that transforms our wounds into our greatest gifts. Just as God brought good out of the tragedy of the cross, we, with God’s help, can cooperate with God in bringing transformation in our own lives and the lives of others. It is the call of each of us as disciples to surrender to God and open ourselves to the work of transformation, even when it hurts.
At our Good Friday service, Pastor Rick said something that has stuck with me. He said that most of our lives are lived on Saturday...that is in the in-between time between the crucifixion and the resurrection. The majority of our time is spent learning to cope with circumstances that are far from perfect while we hold onto the truth that Sunday is coming, that God will act with power. As those who follow Christ, living with hope is the way that makes the most sense. The Risen Christ is among us! Through his presence and love, the answers we need can be found. While we must deal with darkness and death, to remain in the doom and gloom of it is the antithesis of abundant life. It is our openness to God’s presence that will ensure that any barriers that we face on our faith journey will be definitively surpassed by the ultimate momentum of Easter. That, my friends, is the good news!