Through acknowledgment of what is, by naming sin that exists, by naming our participation and benefit from sin, freedom becomes possible. Because of God’s love in Jesus Christ, we can claim our sin, we can be made new, and we can have a new life that exemplifies God’s love.
Listening is redemptive; it has the power to change lives and communities. If we’re going to see positive change in the world – if we’re going to see positive change in our own community – we have to start listening.
In recent weeks, if it wasn’t already known, it has become quite clear, we are an ungrateful people. We need a reset to rethink our relationships, our expectations, and our place in the community. We need, like the healed Samaritan Leper, to be a bit more grateful for the life – the new life – we are offered in Jesus Christ.
Whatever your worry – whatever binds you from being everything God has created you to be – through the power of God in Jesus Christ, you are loosed. The love of God in Jesus Christ frees you from all that keeps you from living into God’s will for your life. And there is but one proper response: the community rejoices. Your freedom is my freedom; Jesus’ freedom is our freedom.
God’s desire for the world is not that a few succeed, while the many suffer. God’s desire is for us all to thrive as one body, as one people, as one creation who live and love in a peaceable union. This was not the world before COVID-19, and it is not the world today. So yes, we have work to do, essential work to do, and it does not take our gathering in this building to do that work.
The role of the Church is to bear witness to Jesus and His love and power, at work to save the world. The immeasurable power of Christ, filling up the church, and overflowing through the Church, to fill all in all. That is the hope, that is the glorious inheritance. That is the immeasurable power.
It may be Easter in exile, but we are not left on our own to fend for ourselves. We are empowered by the risen Christ to claim that new life, eternal love, and God’s glory are designed for all people. This means not only feeding the hungry, housing the homeless, and offering our thoughts and prayers to those who are harmed by the sin of racism; it also means doing the hard work of leading systemic change that keeps people hungry, keeps people homeless, and inequitably causes harm to communities of color.
It is Easter in Exile, and God has a promise, that in Christ, in the resurrection, a new covenant is born. May this season of exile in our lives lead us to claim God’s promise not just for ourselves, but for everyone born, that everyone may know God’s almighty love.
How do you celebrate Easter in the midst of a global pandemic? Here is the good news! God does not wait for us to be ready before acting. God does not need our in-person gathering to do holy work. God preempts any fear, concern, or viral infection through the faithfulness of Jesus, which conquers death to offer us each, and all, new life! Christ is Risen!
This may not be the Palm Sunday we were hoping for, or expecting. Yet, even in our isolation, the faithfulness of Christ is sufficient for you and me. The willingness of Jesus to follow in the Father’s steps will bring us new life.