Sunday, March 31, 2013

Living Our Alleluias

David Lose, an insightful scholar wrote, “. .no one expected the resurrection. Even though Jesus predicted his death…and resurrection…several times across his ministry, no one greets the news that God has raised Jesus from the grave and defeated death and the devil by saying, “Praise God!”

No one shouts “Allelujah” when they hear that their friend and Lord has been raised to life.
And absolutely no one, upon hearing the news that death itself could not hold the Lord of Glory captive, says,
        “I knew it – just like he said!”1
Giovanni, 1491

Lose comforts our logical, sceptical, brains by titling his work, “If it’s not hard to believe, you’re probably not paying attention!”
    Luke’s Story
Not only does no one expect the resurrection, no one believes it at first. The women come expecting to anoint a dead body.
    They have to be reminded by 2 men ‘in dazzling clothes, to’ “remember how he told you, . .?” they say.

When they run back full of excitment, how do the 11 respond?
    “But these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them.” (Lose also helps us recall that the Greek word used for the men’s reaction is the root of our word, ‘delirious’. The men thought the women were delirious.. .)2

So if we still have trouble with this day celebrating a story of resurrection that we don’t fully understand, we’re in good company!

Those who struggle with what resurrection means, can find comfort with the disciples who were in the middle of all the drama and yet didn’t know what to think.

It’s actually a bit easier to identify with Mary - in John’s story of the encounter - she’s sad, fearful and confused, wandering in the garden “early in the morning”. She’s focussed on  the missing body and where it went. Who took it?     She may not be hung up with logical questions, but she’s hasn’t transcended to a conception of resurrection either.
It’s only when her conversation -with the one she thinks is a gardener- get’s personal, and the Risen Jesus calls her by name. . .that her grief is pierced by something greater. . . The joy we call, GOOD NEWS.

We can identify with Mary's grief, can’t we?
Because, We’ve known loss, death, emptiness.
At some time we have known the end of all we had our hearts set on.3

At these times of desperate loss, Our need is for the promise of life; life in the face of death.
    It’s more than a vague comfort we seek, that we will see departed family or dear friends again. That is the kind of solace we seek right after a loss. (when someone dies)
What we need when we hit bottom is the promise that there is truly MORE,
    . .more to live for than money,
        more to live for than the security of a home,
            more to life than just the  breaths we take in a short lifetime.
We need what Jesus promised, taught and showed by his living. That there is MORE to life than ..this.

Jesus lived the Alleluia that says, “Yes, there IS MORE”
    every day  of his earthly life. He tried again and again to teach it to those who followed him.
    Jesus’ life of Alleluia
Can you think of places he brought real LIFE (w/a capital ‘L’) into people’s (little ‘L’) lives?
We’ve named some of these before
    =(examples to quick summary from J’ in Luke)
    He healed a bent over woman and one who bled
    He exorcised demons, and healed debiliating skin diseases
    He restored the ear cut off when he was arrested
 And places he taught Alleluia?
    Blessed are. . .

He fed, healed and restored people to community.
All the while telling people they were blessed, when they didn’t feel like it.

    -He showed there was power in HIS community that intimidated authorities who held earthly power.
    -He pointed priorities back to people and basic needs and turned them away from accumulating things and wealth.

He let the world do it’s worst to him, and by his unwavering faith in God’s constant presence, (Into your hands I commend my spirit) his life AND his death said, ‘there’s more to living than you can see’ watch me! .  . .
. .And it’s hard to make logical sense of that.

Jesus didn’t ignore or deny reality. He just trusted in something greater. When Sunday morning came, God raised him, in a way that is also inconceivable - a resurrection. Raised him to a NEW ORDER of BEING. (Not just brought back to human life that lives under the threat of eventual death, but a NEW kind of life.)
God brought ALLELUIA into human life when he raised Jesus.
    Alleluias in life
Where are the places in our world that need a life giving alleluia ?
    Places that need resurrection?

**And where are the places you’ve have seen the touch of a Divine Affirmation of LIFE?  Places where YOU find new life:

    (List places, mountain top, sunrise, face of one you serve, or looking down into the face of the one washing your feet?)

In next couple weeks we hear stories of places where new life broke in and resurrection was discovered as Jesus appears & SURPRISEs, even those who knew him best.

Their surprise became an alleluia of recognition when they met Jesus again. Eventually, that experience of hearing Jesus call their name, or walking beside him became the beginning of a WHOLE LIFE OF ALLELUIAS.
The ones who first only followed him, then lived the Jesus’ Way, believing in something that doesn’t make sense, believing in something that others couldn’t see.

I beleive in many things I can’t see.

I believe that unseen currents make that Dove up there move.
Dove suspended in window over cross.

    Sure, the physics majors can explain why. But even in a dark and still sanctuary on Friday night, that dove slowly turned. And I beleive in the unseen forces that are behind that movement. . Why?
Because at some point (in some physics class) someone told me about these unseen forces. . And I believe.
. . .
Conclusion - I believe
I believe in unseen forces that move suspended objects.
I believe in unseen forces that bring new life out of the ground every spring.
I believe in the God of resurrection, whom we see at work when people leave rehab and return home.
We see it in when a baby is born where none was thought possible.

We see it in the human ability to go on in the face of horror, and tragedy.

We see it when we come up against huge stones in our path that are far too big to roll away - by ourselves. . . And they move aside. . .

That's when this story of resurrection becomes the alleluias we live.

That’s when the unseen force that creates new life becomes our hope for tomorrow.
. . .
Clinging to the promise that ‘life is more than the death we fear’ is a way to live the ALLELUIA of Easter; EVERY DAY.

 And to that I say alleluia, can you?
1.David Lose, 2
3. Thoughts for Sunday: sparked by texts 4 preaching. Re: John

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