Words from Sue: Resurrection for All Easter
April 10, 2017
Easter is just around the corner – Sunday April 16th for those who aren’t sure! A big question on my mind during the six weeks leading up to Easter is how does the idea, the promise, the gift of resurrection apply to our lives as spiritual beings? Is resurrection only for Jesus or was the whole process – betrayal, death, resurrection, and reconnection with his disciples afterward – a promise that resurrection is for us as well. Hopefully anyone who has been in church the last few Sundays would offer a resounding “YES – we too can find new life.” Our study of the Beatitudes – Jesus’ “Blessed are the…” statements which were part of his sermon on the mount – has shown us that this series of statements hold a key to inner freedom. Following them can open areas of new life and growth for us no matter where we are on our spiritual path.
The basic truths that Jesus taught in those pithy statements boil down to this:
Blessed are the Poor in Spirit: We recognize that something is not working in our lives, that we want more than we have, and we begin to seek a source for that. God, Love, Good Orderly Direction we might not even know what we are seeking – we just realize somehow that we can’t figure it all out any further on our.
Blessed are they that Mourn: We begin to identify the things in us that keep us from the peace, hope, joy, or fullness of life we long for. We see them, recognize them, and become willing to let them go. We feel the pain of how old habits have held us back like stones in our pockets and we become ready to set them down.
Blessed are the Meek: We set off on a new path, new ideas, new behaviors… we become willing to let our inner wisdom, the guidance of others, or our experience of God guide those changes. We allow ourselves, our ideas, our actions to be reshaped in ways that may actually work.
Blessed are those who Hunger and Thirst for Righteousness: Righteousness is right relations – with our selves, with God, and with others. The healing process we have embarked on brings rewards – some measure of change that entices us forward. We experience peace, joy, wonder, curiosity, or a sense of connection with God and with others. These are tastes of the good stuff we didn’t even know we were looking for. It makes us want more with the same hunger that a drowning person wants air.
Blessed are the Merciful: We have discovered along that way that we are not alone on this path. No matter how we name that power within and around us – as we have a taste of new life we can look back over our history or explore other stories and writings and find other places where guidance was available. We begin to recognize that still small voice as the voice of God. Gratitude grows and we can’t keep it to ourselves. We thought we were on our own in life but we discover we never really were. Our wonder and excitement impacts how we live and respond to the people we encounter. Mercy flows out in unexpected ways.
Blessed are the Pure of Heart: Its not all sunshine and roses as we continue to grow and change. Doubt comes, change is uncomfortable, we lose sight of why we even started, we see ourselves falling back into old patterns. The pure of heart are NOT perfect – they are those who CHOOSE to keep seeking God in their lives and the world around them. Faith is a choice, not a feeling. If we seek God, we WILL see God. That’s a promise.
That is as far as we have gotten so far in this sermon series. A path to new life – not some airy fairy pie in the sky new life, but a life that is changed, healed, more … well, just MORE. Do you recognize a pattern in those descriptions? Is there something VAGUELY or even WILDLY familiar in this process as Jesus laid it out so very long ago? Yep. It is the FOUNDATION of just about every single self-help, transformation, or healing pathway that we find in the media today. Why? Because it describes human nature. It is an accurate portrayal of the way that we as normal, everyday, fallible humans go from where we are to where we might be. It works – writers, speakers, and inspirational leaders have made millions of dollars offering a system that is usually these simple statements dressed up with different words. It’s been there, free for the taking, all these decades.
Christians believe, or wonder about, the idea that Jesus was God made Flesh. He was, somehow, fully human, fully divine. It’s a mystery and one of the big questions that we as people of faith live with. Jesus, the son of a carpenter from Nazareth, lived and taught in the dust and dirt right along with us to show us a new way of being in relation to God, to other, and to ourselves. The resurrection story is an invitation to believe, to imagine, to wonder about, and to pursue a life beyond our limits. Resurrection is for all of us. That’s good news!