As I’ve written before, contrary how most of us experience Easter, it’s actually a season of the Church, and not merely a day. It’s not meant to be blown by and then remembered in the rear view mirror by its exhaustion (hello, church-workers), chocolate consumption (or Peeps), and communal meals.
Just as Lent prepares us to think about the Cross, Easter now prepares to live the Resurrection Life…
… The reason that it’s a season is that this not as easy as it seems.
So over the next few weeks, I’m going to offer some thoughts on “Living the Resurrection”, and maybe we can figure this out together.
In contemplating the empty tomb yesterday morning, I was struck by Jesus’ activities after he is raised.
Assuming that the resurrection was a pretty big deal in those (any?) days, did you ever wonder why Jesus doesn’t just set up shop in the tomb and wait for everyone to come and see him?
Instead, he hits the road.
Matthew tells us he goes up to “the mountain” (one of his favorite places in Matthew) to give some final instructions to the Twelve.
Luke tells us that he joins some disciples on the road to Emmaus, then shows up later at dinner.
John says he crashes a (really, really depressing) party that the disciples are having, and then later to Thomas, and eventually has a really important conversation with Peter before departing.
Paul tells us,
He appeared to Cephas, then to the Twelve, and then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers and sisters at once—most of them are still alive to this day, though some have died. Then he appeared to James, then to all the apostles, and last of all he appeared to me, as if I was born at the wrong time. (1 Corinthians 15v5-8)
In other words, even after the Resurrection is still really busy.
Rabbi Abraham Joshua Heschel says that one of the essential characteristics of God is that He pursues us:
This is the mysterious paradox of Biblical faith: God is pursuing man. It is as if God were unwilling to be alone, and He had chosen man to serve Him. Our seeking Him is not only man’s but also His concern, and must not be considered an exclusively human affair. His will is involved in our yearnings. All of human history as described in the Bible may be summarized in one phrase: God is in search of man.
Jesus—even after Easter—continues this tradition of the calling, seeking, pursuing God.
He is not content to only wait and allow people to seek Him out; He goes in search of folks.
… Of Mary, who loved Him but could not save him…
… Of the Twelve, who couldn’t stay awake with him or stay loyal to him…
… Of Thomas, who wasn’t even sure he believed he was really alive…
… Of Peter, who denied that he even knew him…
In other words, not only is Jesus on the move, searching people out, but the very folks who let Jesus down, who weren’t sure about him, who deserted him, who were helpless: those are who he goes to find.
The Resurrected Christ is looking for you. No matter what you’ve done, no matter what you “lack”, no matter how you think you may have betrayed him, he is still seeking you. He’s not afraid of you. He’s not ashamed of you. He’s not embarrassed.
So maybe this Easter, stop running. Or just slow down.
4 thoughts on “Living the Resurrection :: The Calling God”
Great stuff Eric! You know I am reading through the old testament today and in 2 Samuel 14:14 is see these words:
“… But that is not what God desires; rather, he devises ways so that a banished person does not remain banished from him.”
Wow! What insight about God. Joab, who gave the woman these words to say to Daniel, understands it more than he realizes. From beginning to end the bible is full of this message from God.
And now I get your blog post. Pretty cool.
Thanks Eric! Glad you posted this to facebook. And I love the insight you shared about Jesus continuing God’s work among us of chasing us down with his goodness and mercy (Psalm 23) – even after all he had already been through and done for us on the cross. I love that about him! Praying for a joyous Easter!
Thanks John! Praying for you guys as well and think of you often!
I was reading again the other day about Mary weeping at the tomb when she thought Jesus was somehow lost. That even when He stood before her, she was still so preoccupied with what she needed to do in order to find Him that she didn’t initially recognize Him until He spoke her name. And at that moment her definition of who Jesus was had to have changed. This resonated with me deeply.
Mary was looking for the shell of who Jesus was…clinging to whatever she felt like she had left of Him. Had she gotten Jesus’ body back, she probably would have done her best to restore the preservation of His body…she came to the tomb prepared to preserve death. What she didn’t realize was that Jesus had something better…something that didn’t involve her maintaining what was dead. He came and found her to show her that there was nothing left to maintain. He came bearing new life, and with that she was set free to do nothing but love Him.
I had to ask myself how often do I fall into the trap of “death maintenance”? Are there things in my life that Jesus put to death on the cross that I’m still trying to wrap up in linen and anoint with spices? Or even worse, do I do that to Jesus when I’m not living fully in the wake of the resurrection? Where do I need to stop and allow Jesus to find me to tell me that He’s no longer dead?