Easter is Over. Or is it?
(Posted April 25, 2019)
“God is not a celestial prison warden jangling the keys on a bunch of lifers — he's a shepherd seeking for sheep, a woman searching for coins, a father waiting for his son.” - Clarence Jordan, The Substance of Faith: And Other Cotton Patch Sermons
So here we are, nearly a week after Easter, with our finery put away, the Easter ham pretty much done or made into soup. It’s over. Or is it?
If the truth be told, Easter is just the beginning. To stand by the empty tomb and believe is merely the first step. Jesus didn’t stop by the apostles just to say “hi.” He came to urge them to pick up their faith and take it on the road. And the same is true for us. I used to have a lapel button that said, “Jesus is coming. Look busy.” It’s truly as applicable today, where we are expected by God to convert that faith of ours into action.
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In every sense, the lessons we learned during Lent is meant to be the “food” we convert into a new kind of life. Of course, it’s really easy to slip into inertia, into going back to only those practices of our faith that suit our purpose and our schedules. To tell you the truth – and I’m sure it’s not news to anyone – people who criticize Christians, especially young people, feel that saying one is Christian and acting like a Christian are often two separate things.
So what happens now? What do we need to do to be the Easter People who will incarnate Christ’s teachings into our daily life? In mid-century America, Clarence Jordan was someone who couldn’t sit still and do nothing in the face of wrongdoing. As a young man growing up in the Baptist Church, he couldn’t fathom how anyone could tolerate segregation, for he believed all of us are one. As he watched the sharecroppers struggling nearby, he took up training in agriculture, not because he thought he was going to benefit financially by being a farmer, but to help those sharecroppers have a chance at a meaningful life. Later on when he had a call to ministry, he began writing his Cotton Patch Gospels, Epistles, and other Cotton Patch books, in which he uses down-to-earth and surprising words and imagery to make New Testament texts come alive. He and his wife Florence founded a community dedicated to peace and community-building, called Koinonia Farm, dedicated to people of all races living and thriving together. They started a building program that grew into something you would recognize today: Habitat for Humanity. In every way Clarence answered God’s call to become one of God’s sheep, to be God’s son, to be the woman looking for precious coins, to lead other to join God’s flock.
So this Sunday we will take a slightly humorous look at how you’ll respond to the news that Jesus is coming -- how will you become busy being Christian? --- Pastor Pat Kriss