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Racine, WI 53405

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God Isn't Finished

Historically Easter is a feast day – a day of celebration. The Christian community in Tanzania at the close of the Easter vigil, which often ends at midnight, dances until the coming of the Easter dawn. What better way to celebrate the newness, the renewal, the bursting forth of spring and new life? To dance for sheer joy because God isn’t done with us yet!

On Easter we are offered resurrection.  Jesus has already claimed his.  Now it is about us.  Easter isn’t just about the past or the future.  It is about now and claiming the abundant life that God has given us.

We know that we can rise from the ashes of our lives. Why? Because we’ve been there, done that. We’ve been the phoenix and come back when we thought we’d been knocked a lethal blow.  The challenge is that resurrection for each of us isn’t just about coming back; it’s about coming back different.  What good is it if we’ve crashed, for whatever reason, and we pull ourselves out, but we haven’t changed, haven’t learned anything and haven’t grown?  Then there really isn’t new life, it is the same old life we had before, and we’re destined to make the same mistakes again.  Wendy Wright claims that Easter is about coming back “fully alive and aware of all that is."

Anthony de Mello tells a story about being alive:

Once upon a time many people gathered together in the marketplace to ask questions of the master.  Some were seriously interested in the truth and in changing their lives to conform with the power of goodness and life that was the God they sought to know.  Many came out of curiosity or were dragged along by friends.  Some just found themselves there.  Some were intent on invalidating and tripping up the master because they served others and saw the master as a threat to their place in their own groups.  And there were the master’s own followers, who often didn’t understand what was going on until long after the discussions were finished.

That day all the questions seemed to be about death, the grave, and whether one could be sure of a life after death.  It was very disconcerting, especially to the master’s own disciples, because in response to all the questions the master only laughed.  Sometimes softly, a mere chuckle.  Sometimes raucously, very undignified.  Sometimes with pleasure. Those who asked and those who listened reacted with anger, confusion, a feeling of being insulted. But he spoke no words, just laughed.  Finally, the master walked away from them all.

Later that night the disciples prodded him and demanded that he speak about the morning.  What had he meant?  They were really distraught and perplexed.  He looked at them in mock seriousness and spoke:  “Have you ever noticed who the people are who keep asking questions about the next life – life after death?  It seems that all of them, for one reason or another, have trouble with this one.  They always seem to want another life that isn’t connected to this one much at all.”

This didn’t settle the disciples’ anxiety, and one sputtered out:  “But master, is there a life after death or not?  Speak plainly.  Say yes or no!”  The master did it again:  he laughed aloud.  Then he asked a question back:  “What I want to know,” he said, “is whether there is life before death?”  And he eyed them all:  “Are any of you really alive?”

Jesus preached not about death, but about life and how to live it.  The question is, are we living it?

Author, Paula D’Arcy was in a car accident with her husband and 22 month old daughter.  When a drunk driver hit their car, both her husband and daughter were killed.  Paula, pregnant with her second child, survived.  The anger and grief that she experienced in the months to come were overwhelming.  She began to shut out everyone and everything. For months she went through the motions of feeding a newborn, cleaning the apartment, baking cookies, and then crying out at night, “What is the meaning of this? Of my life?”  And then one day, after months of grief, she read an obscure quote that said, “We hear the rain, but not the snow…”  For some reason those words challenged her to reach toward life with passion and intensity, to live so carefully that she would be aware of the sound of snow.  Somehow there was suddenly a glimmer of light and hope amidst the darkness.  For the first time in months her day wasn’t fully dominated by either anger or depression.  She had found a willingness to open her heart again.  Paula quotes Anne Wilson Schaef in her book, who says, “Choosing not to die is not the same as choosing to live.”  Paula had come to that revelation in her life.  She was now no longer satisfied with being half-asleep and half awake, she wanted to be fully alive.

What does it look like to be fully alive? To me, it means many things including leading with love, being grateful, being awake enough to see the beauty that surrounds us. It means we don't sweat the small stuff, we love deeply and openly, we exude hope, joy and light, we are curious and interesting in learning and growing. It means living life to the fullest.

As Paula continued on in life, it could truly be considered that she experienced resurrection.  She not only came out of the death and darkness, but she came out different, changed.  God worked in the midst of the darkness and she learned some important things about herself, about life and love and what makes us happy.  Now she has many books, she is a sought after speaker, and her resurrection continues to bless others.

This is the message of Easter. God isn’t finished with us, yet. There is much to be learned, much to be enjoyed, much to experience and each day is a new opportunity to do all of that. Each day is Easter if only we allow ourselves to see.

Love & Light!