“The Lord, your God, is in your midst, a mighty savior; He will rejoice over you with gladness, and renew you in his love. He will sing joyfully because of you…” Zephaniah 3:17
This seems a fitting scripture passage for this post-resurrection Easter time when we sense the world of nature coming alive and being renewed. God in our midst. It can be a time of hope when the answer to the question, “Is anything too marvelous for the Lord to do?”, seems to be a firm, “No! Nothing is impossible for the Lord to do!” Just look at those once barren trees and vegetation now overflowing with new growth, new life. I’m reminded of my focus word for 2023- Behold. Be sure to see. It seems easier in this season budding with new life to notice all as gift—to notice the little things. To hear God saying: “Watch for me today.”
The Lord, the King of the Universe, is in our midst. Expect a visitation like the disciples after the resurrection.
In the liturgical tradition, the Easter season extends for 50 days until Pentecost. In Scripture, we read stories of Jesus manifesting Himself as a consoler to his distraught disciples. His friends who feel that they have lost him and, thus, their sense of mission. This year I have been struck by how the resurrected Jesus did not criticize his disciples for abandoning him in his hour of need. He did not point out their faults or shortcomings. Instead, he came to them—he showed up, met them where they were at, and he consoled them, telling them not to be afraid. Jesus brought them peace, joy, hope, and confidence. Just so, he comes to console each of us, to remind us not to be afraid, to show up in our own life and in the lives of others, and to receive and share his joy. He offers us the gift of being our constant companion. He gently reminds us that we are to follow him, to do as he did, and to not point out another’s mistakes. We are to join him in his labors to bring healing, beauty, and peace to our world. Acting with justice, goodness, and mercy.
The cultivation of peace and joy can be our mission for the next 50 days of Easter Time.
God reminds us that we each have a light to shine. God wants it to shine. We are to go forth!! First of all, to guard this rich trust God has given us. Then, to let Him fan it into flame. We are cradled close in His hands and lavishly flung forth. Unbound, free, loved, empowered. Resurrection power. God wants to clothe us with power from on high. God is the source of that power. There is much confidence in remembering that we are in the hands of God. Ripening God’s way. We are called to live for Him. Love like Him. We are loved to love. Basking in the love of God we are empowered to love as God loves. Basking leads to empowerment. Take time to breath and to bask.
May we walk in the newness of life. Renewed hearts can renew the world.
The post-Resurrection scriptures also tell us of how the disciples often did not recognize Jesus when he was in their midst. That’s another lesson for us to ponder. How do we recognize the risen Christ—God among us? Or, how often don’t we recognize God among us? This takes living with a sharpened vision aware of the depths of reality offered to us in each moment. God in all things. A phrase I’m drawn to from an old television series is: “Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose.” Last Easter season I wrote this prayer in my journal: “I want to live in awe and wonder with gratitude, confidence, and clarity of purpose.” Perhaps we can all relate to the desire to live in the depths of reality with an open, soft, and free heart. God’s healing touch can heal our hearts and renew our minds.
“Wisdom comes to rest in a good heart.” Proverbs 14:33
I’m also struck by how the disciples walking to Emmaus responded to Jesus: “We were hoping…” What am I hoping for now? What are you hoping for? What desires are stirring in our hearts now post-resurrection? Let’s take the time to ask God what He is saying to us through those desires.
Another observation from Scripture is that the resurrected Jesus still carried his wounds. He showed them to the disciples. Have we looked for another’s wounds? How can we help with their wounds? Again, let’s take time to sit with God and ponder these questions together.
Jesus promised the disciples—and us—to send them a helper—His Holy Spirit. His Spirit consoles, encourages, animates, enlivens, emboldens, and gives us work to do. As I look back on my own story, I see that God certainly has protected, pursued, and corrected me. The disciples were ordinary, imperfect men who received power from on high to do extraordinary things. Imperfect people doing significant things give me hope.
Let us live out the Easter season brave, wise, and free.
**Photo credit–my dear friend Cathy Raney who clearly sees God’s glory.