From the Pulpit – Is there life after Easter?

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pulpitIs There Life After Easter?

By REV. DR. RALPH R. HERBERT

Easter Sunday! It is a gala celebration of Christ’s resurrection and the assurance of an abiding hope for tomorrow. The fragrance of lilies fill the air, the music is triumphant, and the message that “He is Risen!” uplifts the spirit! It’s the superbowl of the faith and all the “fans” religiously attend. Truly, Easter Sunday is an exhilarating event.

However, is there life after Easter? Where does one go after ascending to the top of the mountain? Many return to the practice of functional indifference. We profess the greatest message ever told but then descend to a default position. Dave Gibbons in his challenging book, “The Monkey and the Fish” shares and Eastern parable:

A typhoon stranded a monkey on an island, in a protected place on the shore. While waiting for the raging water to recede, he spotted a fish swimming against the current. It seemed to the monkey that the fish was struggling. At considerable risk to himself, the monkey moved far out on a limb, reached down, and snatched the fish from the waters. Scurrying back to the safety of his shelter, he carefully laid the fish on dry ground. For a few moments, the fish showed excitement but soon settled into a peaceful rest.

What’s next? May I humbly suggest that Christians spend more time fishing and less time sheltered in the walls of the church. We live in a rapidly changing, diverse world with an evolving culture. Concepts like post-modernism, climate change, globalism, and neo-spirituality are now a part of our new vocabulary. If there is going to be life after Easter then we have to re-define our methodology without altering the message we recently celebrated.

A friend of mine, a brilliant psychologist who has performed hundreds of client assessments, quipped that he has “met Jesus in those interviews many times!” It provoked the thought: What kind of Jesus is the world meeting today? The kind that demands that seekers abide by narrow social norms or adhere to strict rule-keeping that we ourselves neglect to keep?

No, if we are going to respond to Jesus’ command to love God and neighbor, then we will reject the homogeneous principle that prefers to love only those who “are like me.” We will cease from selfish worship wars and communities of sameness. We will obey Jesus the Messiah and begin fishing in new waters.

There is a poignant moment in the life of Martin Luther King, Jr. that describes the love of our neighbors. There was strong opposition by a particular individual who was determined to blockade the movement. King’s leadership team was upset and complaining about the man’s defiance. He asked them, “Does anyone have anything good to say about this man?” No one mumbled a single word. King continued, “This meeting is adjourned until someone can find one thing that is good, because if you can find that point, that will be the place where God opens the door for us to go forward.” Is there life after Easter? Absolutely, but only if we are willing to find that place where God is opening doors for Jesus to come in!

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One Response to From the Pulpit – Is there life after Easter?

  1. Burr Sheely Reply

    April 11, 2013 at 4:34 pm

    Right on Ralph. I miss your thought provoking sermons.

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