the fourth sunday of easter
the PRAYER. . .
O God our shepherd, you know your sheep by name and lead us to safety through the valleys of death. Guide us by your voice, that we may walk in certainty and security to the joyous feast prepared in your house, through Jesus Christ, our Savior and Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever.
the READING. . .
[Jesus said], “I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly.”
the DEVOTION. . .
“Alleluia! Christ is risen; Christ is risen indeed! Alleluia!” That’s the Paschal – the Easter – Greeting! And it’s been used in the church, a long, long time. After all, that’s what Easter’s all about, right? Jesus rising from the dead! And for me, it’s been all about the power and the glory. God “wowing” us! God doing the impossible! Doing what only god could! Not the usual earth-to-earth and ashes-to-ashes stuff. But heartbeat-to-heartbeat! Breath-to-breath. And we have to admit … after 2000 years, after a hundred generations … nothing’s really changed. People are still people. No better. No worse. Being born. Growing. Dying. And once dead? Well, they never come back. Never, ever. Except, that is, Jesus! “Alleluia! Christ is risen; Christ is risen indeed. Alleluia!”
But what if Jesus rising isn’t so much about god … and what if Jesus rising isn’t, even, so much about Jesus… what if Jesus rising is, really, about us! Not us on the other side of tomorrow, but us right here, us right now. As Paul writes, “so that just as Christ was raised from the dead, we too might walk in newness of life!” What if the real Easter gift, the real Paschal greeting, is … “Alleluia! We are risen; we are risen, indeed! Alleluia!”
Bob Barndt, pastor