Sunday, April 16, 2006

Happy Easter!

Alleluia. Christ is risen.

The Lord is risen indeed. Alleluia!

O God of unchangeable power and eternal light: Look favorably on your whole Church, that wonderful and sacred mystery; by the effectual working of your providence, carry out in tranquillity the plan of salvation; let the whole world see and know that things which were cast down are being raised up, and things which had grown old are being made new, and that all things are being brought to their perfection by him through whom all things were made, your Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

I love this prayer from the Book of Common Prayer. Don't we all have things in our lives that have cast us down? Don't we all feel ourselves growing old? Whether through physical ailments or simple lack of agility or the energy we once had; or through the insidious cynicism, fear, and hardening of the heart that creep into our lives along the way?

This morning among other things I heard, one idea stands out. The women on the way to Jesus' tomb were wondering who could possibly roll away the stone from the mouth of the cave. Of course, even a stone of several tons was no match for angels and an earthquake, so they didn't ever have to deal with the stone itself. They had to deal with the amazing news that not only had the stone been moved, but Jesus had been telling the truth all along: he could not be held by death. And they didn't apparently know what to think about that, because they were afraid and didn't tell anyone what they had seen, at least at first.

The barriers to faith in our own lives are not usually physical stones. But cynicism, fear, and hardening of the heart are very real. They can feel and function like stones that weigh tons, preventing us from seeing and knowing the truth about Jesus, about God, about life, about ourselves.

They keep us cast down. They make us old. They keep us from becoming whole, mature, perfect in the best sense of perfection.

But if we are willing, He will move those stones. The ones that we could never move on our own. And then things which were cast down will be raised up, and things which had grown old can be made new.

I pray that anyone reading this will find joy and strength in knowing that He is a God of unchangeable power and eternal light, and He can move any stone in your life.

This photo is of a church in Mason, Tennessee. The sign says "Sanctuary open for prayer."

God's love provides us a sanctuary that is always, always open for prayer. Easter is a wonderful time to celebrate it. Every day may we remember and spend time in that sanctuary.

The Lord is risen indeed. And He wants to raise us with Him. Alleluia!