It is so good to be together.
So very good.
So very, very good.
If you haven’t already—take some time to notice:
The neighbor in front of you, behind you, beside you—even at a distance. Neighbors you may not have seen for a long, long time.
The way the sanctuary feels. The way it sits. The space it holds. The way it beckons.
The time that is here—past, present, future.
The song that bursts to sing here.
The peace that begs to be given.
The meal that waits, eagerly, to be shared.
In her poem, “Instructions for Living a Life,” the poet Mary Oliver has said this:
Tell About it.
In a profound way, that’s just what the call of faith- is all about: To pay attention, to be amazed, to tell about it.
Jesus asked his disciples to do nothing less.
Consider the lilies of the field.
Watch the widow who gave all she had, her last mite.
Tend to the grief of the parents of a 12 year old girl who had died in an upper room.
See the children. See them. See them again.
See the poor.
See the vulnerable, the powerless.
See where religion is oppression.
See where faith breathing and acting through and in love gives life.
Jesus asked them to do nothing less-
Including that they watch—that he would be crucified, and three days later, rise again.
They weren’t always so good at it.
While they might have seen Good Friday coming—maybe, at best-
They did not anticipate Easter.
It came as amazement, astonishment; it came, incredulous.
So much so—and as such good news—that the disciples, men and women alike, lost all inhibition, all fear of the authorities and powers and what they could do, and told about it.
Over and over and over again.
Truly: we know about it from their telling.
Watch for your Lord, Risen from the dead, to be at work.
Watch how he works even when you are not paying attention.
A few years ago, we found out my husband, Kevin, had cancer, just the very day before our youngest daughter, Katie, went into the hospital for significant surgery.
Amy, our oldest, was at the U of W. She came home for her sister’s surgery.
As wives can be prone to do, I told Kevin- in no uncertain terms!—that Amy was not to be told of his cancer yet. Honesty-
I couldn’t handle what I knew would be her anxiety, and grief.
As husbands can be prone to do, Kevin didn’t listen.
I left the hospital room for a bit and came back in to hear him sharing with Amy that he had cancer.
Amy was sobbing. She asked he dad if he was going to die. He told her, calmly, that it was scary and serious—but that God was there, love was there, and that he knew that the power of the resurrection was deeper than the power of pain, of sickness, of death.
I believe I’ll see my Dad again he told our daughter. And my mom, and my brother.
I believe in the resurrection.
Kevin paid attention where I didn’t.
He saw where truth needed to be told- and dared enough to trust in the love of Jesus, Risen from the dead, to go right there, into that truth, into that pain.
And in the process, gave me amazement. Yes, anxiety and worry and all that were there.
But so too was life. Life, and hope, and the gift of love unimaginable. Deeper. Deeper than the worry.
How can we not pay attention.
This year has been . . . what?
A weariness untold.
Heavy with grief.
But Pay Attention.
Pay attention to all that was, and still is—all of it.
But listen . . . “And in three days, be raised from the dead.”
Underneath it all, in it all, through it all, Christ reigns, our Lord Resurrected.
It is we who walk out of the grave with Jesus, Risen from the dead.
It is our lives that are held precious for all time, counted for all time, beloved for all time in and through Jesus’ resurrection from the dead.
It is our lives that God, in Christ, works resurrection and life here, and now. In this moment. In this time.
Just that we are here. In this place, in this time, bears witness to the sure and certain promise that Christ is Risen.
And Risen indeed.
Just that we are here. In this place, in this time, bears wit ness to the wonder that nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus, risen from the dead.
Just that we are here—in this place, in this time, bears witness to the wonder that God, in Christ, was with us in the worst of what we have just experienced—and will continue to be, in any complicated days that might come ahead.
Be amazed.! Christ is Risen. He is Risen Indeed.
And tell—people of God. Tell of what you have seen, have noticed. Speak your amazem