BY REV. DAVID MERRITT |
When we move to the Sundays after Easter, there is truly an emotional “let down” of sorts for members and leaders in our churches across North America. As a member of the choir, the band, worship leader, “grave cleaning/flower placing” Easter activist, I find it hard to get past the Lenten/Easter cycle. For me, the early hours of Easter helps me to see the beauty of life even in the midst of death.
Beginning with the Sundays of Easter and moving steadily toward Ascension Sunday and Pentecost, I have to step back a little and ask myself some really difficult questions. If Easter and the open tomb shouts life abundant, why is it that my faith falters with the distractions around me? Can I believe in the call of Christ to follow when I find it difficult to walk daily in joy and confidence as a believer? And if Easter marks a turning point in the story of God’s Passover/Bondage Breaking involvement in history, why do I choose to live in bondage?
These hard questions are not mine alone. Others along the journey of faith with me have shared similar stories of spiritual hurdles, dark nights of the soul. Perhaps our collective sadness after Easter lies not so much in what we can achieve by our own will. To be truly Easter people we must believe in the power of God to intervene in our human condition. In the days and weeks after Easter I can choose either stagnation or integration – losing hope on one hand or finding God in the moment by moment pulses of life.
In the church of our time, the way in which we live out our faith is being constantly challenged by the norms of society, the reality of diminished resources and frenzy of schedules.
Yet the message of Easter is still a reminder that in the Life of Jesus, there is hope that overcomes the ills of this world. His life, death and resurrection are the ultimate reality that can help us find our way in all the chaos of our world. This is not my answer, no my friends, this is the answer of the church throughout the ages. In each age of our existence, we have been able to see light, to find our way and capture the courage to trust God even when our vision falters.
After our celebration of Easter this year, look around. Pause to reflect on the goodness in simple tasks. See the wonder of God’s design in the unfolding rituals of spring. Open your heart to the silence of God’s holy presence. And even when our excitement fails, choose to let God’s Spirit fill the voids of our existence with the waters of salvation.
The springs of salvation from Christ, the Rock, bursting
and flowing throughout all the world’s wilderness
bring life and salvation to those who are thirsting
to drink from this spring of salvation by grace;
as streams through the desert refresh the ground
and make land once barren with green abound,
the pow’r of his Spirit, our cold hearts o’erflowing,
renews us for service with lives bright and glowing.
“I’ll bless you, and you shall be set for a blessing!”
Thus said God, the Lord, to his servant of old;
O may we, in grace and in number increasing,
through work show our faith and in service be bold;
upon your truth founded, we shall not move,
let us ever follow, and fearless prove;
so shall we in doctrine, in word and behavior,
to ev’ryone witness that Christ is our Savior.
-Frederick W. Foster
About the author
The Rev. David Merritt is a retired Pastor, former Dean, Outreach Director, and Chaplain, but he’s “papa” according to his grand-kids. David loves God, Laurel Ridge, and his family. He has enough sense to get out of the rain but prefers raindrops anyway.
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