It was Easter.  It is about New Life, Real Life, Eternal Life.  Our pastor spoke that morning about discovering resurrection through reading scripture, people, circumstances, and creation.  Each day I walk for a couple of hours.  I see evidence of renewed life everywhere.  Saturday afternoon I was at the Ottawa County Ravine Park.  I saw a pair of Bald Eagles on their nest.  The Trout Lilies are all over the woods.  The March Marigolds are just ready to flower.  We have daffodils all over the yard and in the house.  The crocuses are blooming.  Rhubarb is coming on strong.  The tulips will soon open their buds.

On that first Easter morning it was not so bright.  People were in their homes.  There was fear.  The Roman authorities were concerned about riots. People had been hoping for a miracle, a revolution, a coup de’etat.  Now, it seemed all was lost.  Their leader’s body lay dead in a cave.   The disciples of Jesus, his faithful chosen ones were in disarray, hiding, grief stricken.  They had given three plus years of their lives to a man and a cause and now it was the third day of hope crushed.  It was not a time to go outside.

I am trying to understand what it must have felt like back then.  I am retired…kinda.  I have food in refrigerator.  Shipt brings Meijer groceries to our door.  There is money in the bank.  We are well.  We have entertainment.  We communicate with our friends and colleagues by zoom and whatsapt around the world.  We are blessed.  I love my life.  We are probably much like the Pharisees of Jesus day.  We are compassionate and generous but want to make sure there is financial security.  We have the right connections.  We want to do good in the world, but we would like people to do it our way.  Our government is not perfect, but it is our government and might pretty much makes right. 

 Our situation is not like it is for many people this Easter.  I had a tenant phone me yesterday saying the government shut down their business and they have no income and no savings.  Another tenant has not paid rent for several months.  Last week a Ugandan friend begged me to “Please send her mother $50.00” just so she could purchase some rice and maize meal as prices were doubling.  The Ugandan government was shutting everything down.  Fifty percent of the population live off the wages they make each day.  There are no reserves.  A secondary school student that we support in Kenya stays inside her one room home.  Schools are closed and she cannot return home. 

I get angry when I hear people talking about, “Getting back to normal.”  I do not want normal I want justice!  I want opportunity! I want freedom!  I want transparency and honesty!  I want hope!  I want deep relationships.  I want to know my life has meaning, purpose, and a future.  I want to be challenged and challenge others to be what our creator called us to become.

Don’t give me normal.  Don’t bring me back to partisan politics.  Don’t give me lies and fake news!  Don’t give me conspiracy theories!  Don’t give me $1,200 and think you have somehow saved me, helped me.  Don’t give me things, promises, platitudes.   

Here is the catch.  We live in both Kingdoms.  We can and do have all what we want but it is in a different kingdom, not of this world.  It is the kingdom of Jesus.  I am so grateful that he is my Lord, that I have a future that defies description.  I have a faith community that is defined by love, affirmation, encouragement.  Our relationships are not normal.  They are exceptional and sacrificial.  It is a community that reflects the Spirit, forgiveness, and grace of Jesus. 

Yes, Jesus died.  More importantly, He lives.  Death be dammed.  Jesus come alive in me again today…and in you.  Easter is not happy days and colored eggs but a new beginning, an awakening!

Stay safe! Best…Always, Lou

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