Christ is Risen! He is Risen, indeed. Indeed? Really? What does it mean for us as a church that we proclaim these words throughout the season of Easter? Do we really believe in resurrection and that Christ's body is given new life? Or is that just something we say - a polite slogan that church-goers share when the pastor begins the cheer?
What does it mean to BE the Risen body of Christ in this world? Does it mean that we choose to live in a way in which Jesus lived - full of compassion, kindness, mercy, and forgiveness? Does it mean that we have the courage to love and relate even when others are unlovable and stand-off-ish? Does it mean to embrace a different kind of standard than the one that is used in our culture to determine success and effectiveness? Are we really (according to Jesus' teaching and example) meant to count beans and heads as a way of judging whether our ministry is vibrant?
Do we persist in our unchecked wisdom about needing to offer an endless variety of programs that 'get people in the door' as though we were some sort of spiritual Walmart where volume and mass consumption are the keys to the future?
Or do we trust in God to bring a different kind of growth and vitality - such as the world cannot give and cannot count? Do we seek to live out the Easter message in the relationships that we have with each other and our neighbor simply because that is what Jesus calls us to do? Do we assemble each week to share in the good news that God has triumphed over the grave, to share in a sacred story and break bread not concerned about the entertainment value of such actions? Instead, do we worship because God calls us to give glory and praise not satisfy our feelings?
I wonder - what does it mean for each of us to belong to the body of the Risen Christ which continues to gather at St. James - called by the Spirit? Is it about the numbers who are missing or about the faithfulness of those who are present?
Can God resurrect the hardness of our hearts and the coldness of our imaginations?
It is time for us to leave our tombs of the past and our tombs of fear for the future and start to live in the reality of Easter in the gift that God has given us in this present moment. It is time for us to gather anew around Word and Sacrament to worship. It is time for our beliefs to align with the possibilities birthed in Easter's new day. It is time for us to worry less, give more, and celebrate even more. It is time for us to live as God's Easter people like our very lives depend upon it - for, in truth, they really do.
Christ is Risen - INDEED - Alleluia! God continues to give new life to the body that was once was dead. Thanks be to God.