Saturday, April 22, 2017

Easter Saturday / Earth Day

“God saw everything that he had made, and indeed, it was very good.” - Genesis 1:31

Someone once challenged me to justify Christian ecological concern using scripture. We need look no further than the first chapter of Genesis. Who are we to damage and destroy what God has deemed good?

God has woven an Easter hope into the very fabric of life itself. The biosphere, like our bodies, has an astonishing capacity to heal. And like us, an astonishing capacity to rise again to new life.

Our destruction of the natural world is a reflection of our sinful insistence on living in a Good Friday universe, where we crucify Life itself in the name of our own fear, our craven desire for power, and our boundless capacity for self-destruction.

But Christ rises from death and appears in the garden. Mary Magdalene mistakes him for the gardener, but perhaps this isn’t a mistake at all, but a reminder that the Maker of the Garden rises again in the context of creation, in the midst of the vibrant springing forth of all life season by season, year by year, epoch by epoch.

Too many Christians have mistaken scientists as the enemies of faith, but what we have failed to comprehend is that so many are the observers of the goodness of Creation, the recorders of the wonder that -- as we Christians might put it -- God began and Christ continues to redeem.

Science as a discipline has its roots in the Christian academy: the university. Part of being an Easter people is about healing the false rift between science and religion, and remembering that what God has made -- and what God is prepared to raise to new life if we will only allow -- is indeed very good.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Easter Thursday vs. Emotional Narcissism

Do you believe?

This unnerving question haunts the Easter community of Christ. But too often, we hear it as a demand to offer intellectual assent to the implausible or, perhaps even worse, an expectation that we must feel a certain way before we can judge ourselves faithful. Both are paltry versions of belief that don’t get us very far.

What happens as the Easter glow fades and the Great Fifty Days are still before us? When the zeal of the newly converted wears thin? When the honeymoon is over?

Thomas continues to ask questions. Mary Magdalene’s witness falls on incredulous ears. The first apostles wonder what to do next and sometimes gather in fear. Even when directly confronted by the Risen Christ, Peter is bewildered and unsure.

But belief is not overruled by doubt, fear, or confusion.

As for the first apostles, so it is for us:

Believing is about choosing to remain in relationship.
It is about the hard path of learning to trust.
It is about the discipline of showing up.

Who knows how we will feel today or tomorrow?

But for God in Christ, all that is secondary. What matters is that we choose to be an Easter people. Mary Magdalene persists in delivering her message. The apostles continue to gather, in fear or not. Peter answers the call and puts one foot in front of the other.

That is what believing is about.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Easter Wednesday vs. the Limits of Historicity

I catch myself trying to read the story of the Road to Emmaus as mere history, caught up like a good Gentile in Luke’s apparent effort to turn the Gospel into an historical account. Our conceit to literalize Easter founders when we relegate the Risen Christ’s self-revelation to only a mid-first-century encounter.
When did we decide that story was *less* than history? And myth was less than truth? The road to Emmaus is the story of Jesus walking with us, often unrecognized, reinterpreting our most closely held stories and histories as the eternal divine story of life and love conquering death and despair.
What if the Risen Christ is on the road of life with each and all of us together, not as an artifact of history, but right now? The love in our hearts as we ask those burning questions of one another? The tender compassion that greets us in a smile, in a supportive hand, in confronting us with the hard but wondrous truth that we are loved beyond all imagination?
Easter Wednesday is the day we are reminded to pray, "Be known to us, Jesus, in the breaking of the bread." That is not a historical moment, but an ever-present and eternally holy now; as we engage in relationship and share the nourishing bread of life with one another...
And find God closer than our breath, with us in the very fabric of our relationships with one another, the earth, and the whole cosmos.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Easter Tuesday vs. the Arrogance of Caesar

Even after defeating death itself, Christ does not rule like an earthly emperor or king. He greets his followers in hidden rooms and seeks them out in fearful places. He walks with them along the road. He dines with them on simple fish by the lakeshore. He is not troubled by our lack of recognition or ill-tempered at our ignorance and timid faith. He only asks, “Do you love me?” and, if we do, he commands us only to feed and care for one another.
The rulers of this world posture, bluster, don cloaks of violence, and send forth great armies, concealing their incompetence with a veneer of arrogance. Compassion is always secondary to the laws of fearful statecraft, and humanity and the natural world are commodified and expendible in the economy of the anti-Christ.
Despite all this, the Ruler of the Universe who died for us rises to new life and lives among us and in and through us with a disarming humility.
For all the shameful ways the world marginalizes, we are not alone.
And we never will be again.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Easter Monday vs. Dreams of the Dead

What a fascinating, terrifying age we live in, where little boys who never grew up sit astride apocalyptic powers, trying to live into the death-dealing dreams of their grandfathers, and millions of lives hang in the balance.
This is the culture of death writ large in a world crafted by the long-deceased. The dead teach and lead the dead.
But we resist the Culture of Death. God’s radical hope is not waiting around for us to grow up. The New Life has already arisen and walks and lives among us, calling us forth from the tombs, as the old song goes.
This is the paradox of Easter:
Life renewed in the face of the Culture of Death.
Courage, my sisters and brothers.