Thursday, April 24, 2014

In Their Midst

Repent, therefore, and be converted, that your sins may be wiped away, and that the Lord may grant you times of refreshment and send you the Christ already appointed for you, Jesus, whom heaven must receive until the times of universal restoration of which God spoke through the mouth of his holy prophets from of old.  Acts 3:19-21

While they were still speaking about this, he stood in their midst and said to them, “Peace be with you.”  But they were startled and terrified and thought that they were seeing a ghost. Luke 24:36-37

Father, help us to see Jesus in our midst.  May the warmth of that encounter with the Lord change us from following our path to walking with Jesus.  Holy Spirit, guide us no matter how startled and terrified we are of the journey.    

What is the meaning of the Easter story?  Just this:  Jesus is not out there.  He is not some “ghost.”  He spirit is alive and in our midst bringing us Peace even when we are startled and terrified.   The story Luke recounts is not some figurative allegory.  Jesus came back to stand, sit, eat, talk, touch, and be touched by the disciples. 

Again, that same word appears today that marked the preaching of John the Baptist in the desert and the public ministry of Jesus.  Repent.  Change.  We did not act on his words alone.  So, to further help us to change, “God raised up his servant and sent him to bless you by turning each of you from your evil ways.”  (Acts 3:26)

Easter is aligned with spring and all the signs of new life after the winter of the Polar Vortex.  Flowers, grass, trees are showing their spring colors in the light and warmth of the season.  These signs of life are now in our midst after the death and darkness and cold of winter. Literal change is all around us.  Easter means change also has to be within us.

How is the meaning of the Easter story changing you?  As Pope Francis said in a recent homily, “Jesus isn't 'up there,' faraway, pope says. He's here by our side. Don't be afraid to reach out to him.”

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