The Good News is that we are a Resurrection People. The bad news is that we are expected to act like it. This is the message of Easter Season, which celebrates the Ascension, the descent of the Holy Spirit and Pentecost.
Too often we get hung up on Good Friday, stopping with the idea of pain and loss. To move on to a resurrected way of living in no way negates the tremendous sacrifice that Jesus made. That’s the point. Jesus made that sacrifice, but it didn’t end there. Now we have no more excuses not to do the same.
Not that it isn’t human to want a few definite signs of how to proceed. Even the disciples were thrown when Jesus ascended to heaven. Now what were they to do? Acts tells us that the angel chided the disciples, saying, “Why are you standing there, looking up to the sky?” It was pretty clear that they — and we — are meant to get busy, not lounge around waiting for the Second Coming.
And the disciples did get busy. They went out and spread the Word and many died for it.
I always thought that I would have been a willing martyr for my faith, IF ONLY I’d actually seen the physical Lord, like the Apostles. IF ONLY I’d lived in Nazi Germany, of course I would have sheltered the Jews. IF ONLY I was healthier, I’d do great things for my God today, in this time in history where God placed me.
Instead I sit here at home and pray. That’s a good thing, right? And easy. Unless it’s the Psalms. I often use various translations, to get a fresh view of what God is trying to get through my thick skull. Current I’ve been using the ICEL version. Psalm 77 was in those pages, just waiting to grab me. “I cry to you, God. IF ONLY you would hear me!” IF ONLY. So I’m not the only If-Only-er in history.
For years, my biggest IF ONLY was IF ONLY I was good enough for God to hear my cries, to notice me. IF ONLY, most of all, I was good enough for God to love me.
Somehow I do believe now that God loves me, that there is no earning involved. All is gift. But I still play the IF ONLY game at times and use it as an excuse not to serve God. Thanks, God, that I stumbled across the psalmist’s IF ONLY and that I did in this Easter season. Psalm 77 changes tone and ends in a praise of God’s greatness: “You led your flock under Moses and Aaron.”
And you continue to lead us under Jesus the Christ who promised “I am with you always.”
The Good News is that we are a Resurrection People. We are called to drop our excuses and go forth and serve, with the help of God 3-in-1, present forever.
Thanks, God. Amen.