This sacrament is not an exercise in nostalgia, though it is remembrance; here at this table, the past, present, and future are joined in a meal that gives us a glimpse of the kingdom of God, even in the presence of our enemy, whether that enemy is human, virus, or death itself.
When Jesus meets the broken-hearted disciples, he first walks alongside them, listens, he lets them tell their story even if they are not aware that it is the story of Jesus’s suffering too. Then, he opens the scripture to them, so their hearts gradually move from broken to burning within them.
This moment will not last forever. We will get back together physically when it is safe to do so, but we will not be the same. We will, like the resurrected Jesus, still bear the scars of this wilderness journey.
This Easter, we don’t need the half-time show. We need the good news. We need to hear this story again of death getting defeated, and we need to let it soak into our bones.
“Courage is fear that has said its prayers,” a wise woman said. It is time to hold to our faith, to find our courage through prayer.
The second life of Lazarus is still a mortal life--he will die again; and yet, it points to the resurrected life, to the abundant life in Christ that we can live even in the midst of lament.
On the one hand, we are only human. We are infected with fear and greed, with selfishness and a tendency toward despair. On the other hand, there is the good news of the Gospel: We are fully human. We are made in the image of God with the capacity to love one another, to be generous, to pour ourselves out for one another even as Christ poured himself out for us.
It may look like a spiritual desert out there, but there is living water running deep.
The choice of faithfulness is not binary. When we look back at crossroads, it may seem that there was only one faithful choice we could have made. The word of the Gospel of Jesus Christ is that God is with us on whichever path we take. If it is a wrong one, God leads us back, or reshapes the path before us.
As much as we would like to have a vaccine against all kinds of sin, some protection against ever taking that first step on a journey of one temptation after another, this fallen state, this human condition, this weakness of the will infects our species... ....As we pray “lead us not into temptation,” that’s not bad advice: Keep your eyes on the cross. Relax, breathe, and walk, one step at a time.