THOUGHTS FOR THE SEASON
Dear island friends and visitors:
“He is not here.” It does not sound like a theological declaration. It sounds more like a receptionist stating the CEO is not in. Yet, when one is working through the impossible and unbelievable, theological profundities are inadequate. Describing an occurrence in the here and now, too good
to be true but as real as seeing and hearing can make it, and then the simplest expressions say it all! “He is not here.” “He is raised.” “The tomb is empty.” “The stone had been rolled away.” “Why do you look for the living among the dead?” “Remember what Jesus said.” “He saw only the cloth the body was wrapped in.” “Mary!” Rabboni!” “I saw the Lord!” “Were not our hearts burning within us when he talked to us?” “They recognized him in the breaking of the bread.” “My Lord and my God!”
It may be well to go with the simple this Easter: the original one-liners, the single word, the euphoria. It is not our task to impress God. God intends to impress us. “He is not here.” He is raised as He said.
And we all respond with the untranslatable, Alleluia!
Rev. Joseph Protano
St. Andrew Catholic Church
Seeing with new eyes
A voice said, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen.” It never happened before, so how could it be possible for it to happen now? She could hear the voice, but initially she could not comprehend or fully grasp the meaning of his words. No, it cannot be. The stress and the depth of her sadness as she remembered Jesus hanging on the cross made this present moment seem too unreal. She had seen the movement of his body slightly shifting from side to side as he tried to find a bit of relief from the pain. She had heard him draw his last breath and watched his body slump over as death overtook him. And now this voice and his words were contradicting her experienced reality and the echoing effects of the empty tomb caused the words to reverberate. Was it just an apparition of her own making, her own deep desire to believe that she was now waking up from a terrible nightmare? For many people the resurrection can be hard to fathom and difficult to embrace. Remember, Peter and another disciple did not believe it either. After hearing the women tell them that the Lord had risen, that it “seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe the women.” Immediately, they got up and ran to the tomb. It was empty. But could they believe it even then, or did the thought that someone had taken his body cross their minds? Indeed, the resurrection is one of the biggest stumbling blocks for many Christians to comprehend. A body snatcher would be more plausible, more acceptable for the brain to comprehend. We can be uncomfortable and challenged by an unsolvable mystery. We like absolute proven answers. However, the resurrection is all about faith not proven answers, and faith comes when we look for the living Christ not among the dead. Faith comes when our souls are able to find and see the living Christ that is within us, and he is calling us to live our lives witnessing that reality. Alleluia! Christ is risen. He is risen indeed!
The Rev. Eletha Buote-Greig
St. Ann’s by-the-Sea Episcopal Church
From good to great
Spring Cleaning. Every year it comes around just like clockwork. All the springtime chores that we’ve been looking forward to doing all winter long (not)! The list is different for each of us, but it’s a long list, nevertheless. So we begin:
Wash the windows. Air out and flip the mattresses. Replace the air filters on the air-conditioner. Empty out the coat closet. Dust where you don’t normally dust. Wash the walls and lighting fixtures. Launder the curtains. Polish the furniture and silverware. Sort through and donate or recycle clothing, books and magazines that you don’t use anymore. Oil change on the lawn mower. Rake out the flower beds. Collect dead branches in the yard. And the list goes on...
So much of our lives are occupied with doing mundane work, with completing simple seasonal and every-day chores. With all of this ordinary work demanding so much of us, where do we even find the time or the energy to do good work, the things that ultimately matter most?
“God has created us in Christ Jesus to live lives filled with good works that he has already prepared for us to do.” (Eph 2:10)
Sometimes good works can appear to be just as ordinary as spring cleaning. But, if God has planned them for you, then He has also given you all the time and resources that you need to accomplish them. And, if God is counting on you to accomplish them, then there is nothing mundane, common, or trivial about what God gives you to do.
God has given each of us wonderful works to do, things that we can call great.
Where do we find the opportunities in our lives each day to experience greatness through simple good works?
Maybe the list begins with things like:
Taking care of a sick friend or relative. Offering a kind word or note of encouragement to someone who may be out of sorts. Having a listening ear
for a friend who is struggling. Fixing a leaky faucet or faulty heater for someone who doesn’t know how to. Making sandwiches for a meal at a
homeless shelter. Writing a check for a charity. Changing your schedule to meet with someone who needs some moral support. Sharing some wisdom from your life’s lessons learned with someone younger than you. Sharing information with someone who doesn’t have it but could sure use it. Being there for a child or spouse who needs a little extra TLC. Helping an old friend go through mountains of paperwork that they feel like they’re
buried in. Doing a small something for someone that they are unable to do for themselves. And the list goes on...
Often, we mistake greatness for fame, reputation, or celebrity. We think that for something to qualify as great it has to be recognized by many, or be wide-reaching in its effects. Not so. What makes good work great is not necessarily its scope but the impact that it has in the individual lives of those around us.
What good work is God calling you to do this spring? Whatever it is, call it what it is: call it great.
And have a great Easter!