Is Risen! He Is Risen Indeed!
repeated for millennia past and to come, is at the very core of our faith
and life as Christians. It points to a particular moment in time
(the crucifixion/resurrection) that caused the world to stop and change
directions, almost as surely as if the rotation of the earth itself began
spinning in the opposite direction.
sound too dramatic? It shouldn't, because the direction of life that
was pointed to by Jesus as he lived and died on the cross invites us on
a journey in quite the opposite direction from which the world is heading.
was a teenager, my parents bought an 18' wide, 4' deep circular above-ground
swimming pool - one of those blue plastic-lined jobs. It was pretty
amazing, and very welcome in the summer months in Fontana, where the temperature
in our back yard often reached 150° in the shade (or so it seemed!).
It soon became a favorite neighborhood hangout for all the kids, and a
few adults as well.
A favorite pastime
in the pool was for several of us to get the water moving in a whirlpool
by running as fast as we could in a circle. Then we'd just float
and let it carry us along for a while. Sometimes we'd try to go against
the current - for exercise or just amusement - and found it really difficult.
(Yes, this passed for real excitement in Fontana).
here Is fairly obvious. We can continue to "go along with the flow"
of things in life, but unlike floating along in the safety of a backyard
pool, going with the flow of the world can take us to places we really
don't want to end up. Trying to change the direction of our lives
will be difficult, but really is worth the effort. The current against
which we struggle will make things seem more difficult at first, but as
we build up our strength of will, and as our character deepens in faith,
the effort seems much less onerous, and amazingly (like the pool water),
the direction of the flow in our lives will change.
walked with people whose lives seem a series of one calamity after another.
All of their primary relationships are dysfunctional and amazingly difficult
to maintain. They are always putting out fires, always in battle
about something. Too much drama! I sometimes wonder if they
think that the only way to tell that they're alive is to be in some sort
of conflict (imagined or real) with someone. Over time, even these
intrepid souls begin to wear down and
wonder "why am I never happy? Why
is everything so difficult? Why is everyone (but me, of course!)
so stubborn?" The closest that many people come to "happiness" is
when they can completely control and dominate others (then no one else
is happy!), or when their own pain is dulled by chemicals or the rush of
newness in relationships or stuff. Even if they try to make small
steps in a healthy direction in their lives, when the whole direction of
their lives is unhealthy, small steps in a healthy direction just frustrate
them and make
the endeavor even more unpleasant.
It's just easier, after a while, to flow along as usual with the thought
that "this is the way it's supposed to be. Why even bother to try?"
of the resurrection that we celebrate at Easter addresses this very issue.
It offers us a new way of life, a complete change of direction, an utter
alteration of priorities. Is it easy? n a word, no. In
fact it's quite difficult, at least at first, to begin living a life with
priorities informed by attitudes of forgiveness and love, with a desire
to be a part of the healing process in peoples' lives (rather than being
a part of the problem), and with an orientation away from ourselves and
directed toward God and others around us. It's never too late, and
it begins with accepting and understanding God's forgiveness in Christ
for us. In that forgiveness we are set free to truly be the people
Christ Is Risen! He Is Risen Indeed!