Wednesday, April 2, 2008

New Life -- Reflections on Easter 2008

New Life

I thought and prayed long and hard about what I would write about today. There are so many rich themes and hymns and stories from this time of year, but what do we need to hear most? As I read and searched and thought about where my own life is, I realized that what I need to hear is that life has been redeemed, re-created, and reconciled to God.

In the beginning, God created everything that is and called it good. From the water in the streams to the leaves on the trees, to the animals in the forest, to man and woman, God called it very good. But it didn’t stay that way. We chose to go our way instead of God’s; we chose to make our own desires and passions our god. In that instant, death and sin entered the world and God’s wonderful creation became corrupted.

But God would not leave things corrupt and dying. He put into action the plan that was laid before the foundation of the world. God came and lived in his creation. He walked in the cool of the shade and drank and swam from the rivers. He ate and worked and with his every breath reclaimed his creation: from the smallest microbe to the largest animal – even his rebellious sons and daughters. But just living in creation wasn’t enough – he went the whole way. He took the sin, corruption, and death of humanity on himself and took it to the cross. Embracing its shame and pain for the joy set before him – reuniting with the Father and bringing all of creation with him. His death broke the power of sin and death, his resurrection brought life and reconciliation to the world. In every way possible, Christ re-created what had been lost at the fall.

Is that recreation and reconciliation complete? Hardly. You have only to read the paper or look around your neighborhood to see that sin and death still happen all around us. But the victory is already won. How I desperately need to be reminded! In the midst of life, when I am overwhelmed, when I am sure there is no hope, no way out, no alternate ending other than the bad one I see ahead, I hear a whisper on the wind. If I stop and listen, the whisper will grow into a symphony that fills the heavens and the earth. It is the ancient cry of Christ’s Bride the Church, “Christ had died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again!” As I listen to these words and they fill my heart and mind, I find hope. Hope to keep doing what God has called me to do in the circumstances he has placed me in. Hope to trust God with the outcomes and futures I can’t see. Hope to believe that after all God has done already in my life and the life of the world he will bring to completion what he had begun. This is the message I desperately need as we celebrate Eastertide; and, praise God, it is the message we receive from the cross and the empty tomb.

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