Live your beliefs and you can turn the world around.
-Henry David Thoreau, 19th century
Happy Easter! It is still Easter, you know?! The Church has always celebrated the wonder and glory of the resurrection of Jesus for a great 50 day season. So we should still be greeting one another with “Christ has risen!” and responding with “He has risen indeed!”
In the spirit of the continuing season of Easter I want to share with you a part of the Still Speaking devotional written by UCC pastor from Chicago, Matt Fitzgerald. It is an important reminder of that the truth of Easter is for you and me, personally, as well as for the world, generally. When I read it the day after Easter it was exactly the message that I needed to hear.
Pastor Fitzgerald begins with reminding us that Mary Magdalene was the first to hear the Easter message “Christ is risen” and was transformed by it. Because “death had been defeated. Not just Christ’s, but because of his, hers as well.” He then moves to wondering how long it took for the news to reach Pontius Pilate? He points out that Pilate must have heard the news, but history suggests he did not believe it or receive it in any way that it was able to transform him. Surely if it had we would have heard that story. Can you imagine what a miracle that would have been? The man who sentenced Jesus to die on the cross becoming a believer in his resurrection from the grave! The man who believed in the ultimate power of death now believing that power to be ultimately defeated!
But Pilate was not transformed. He had his chance but now it’s too late for him.
Then Pastor Fitzgerald makes it personal: “But not for you. Will Easter change you?.
You could listen to wounded people tell their stories long after boredom has set in. You could let harried young parents go before you at the grocery store. Only a fool wants to rush through eternity. You could forgive. Forever is far too long to bear a grudge. You could call your loved ones from the office, pull your children out of school for a day at the zoo, stare at the sky for 45 minutes without moving, letting your soul become coordinated to the rhythm of spring breeze, blue sky, early daffodil.
You could go deeper, let down all of your defenses, take off all your armor. You don’t need it anymore. Death itself has been defeated. Breathe deep. Live easy. Take a step toward heaven. Not by dying, but by realizing that death has been destroyed. Eternity has just begun. Christ is risen! Not as an isolated miracle, but as the first of many. Get ready. You might be next.”
R. Steven Hudder
Pastor, Christ Congregational United Church of Christ
Palmetto Bay, Florida