Easter 3b – Sunday 22nd April 2012
Holy Week is a big deal. There’s so much going on. It contains stories and encounters that reverberate right to the heart of our faith. It’s a huge high. A wonderful celebration.
The following week can seem almost like an anti-climax! No wonder the Sunday after Easter is often called “Low Sunday”. Holy week and Easter Sunday provide a real mountain top experience, we need to make sure we don’t end up in the valley of (…………) – fill-in your own blank description.
My own Low-Sunday experience was minimal as I took the week off! And I guess that break from my desk has re-energised and refreshed me for this Monday morning.
And instead of feeling low this morning, as soon as I saw the words from Luke 24:36 I realised that an Easter faith is a viable all-year round option. “Peace be with you”, Jesus said.
How good it is to hear those words. Words that speak to me on many different levels.
On the top level, as I survey the mountain of post, emails and jobs to do on my to-do list, it’s good to feel God’s presence very close to me. All the jobs scream for top priority, and everything needs to be done by 10am Wednesday. So, how good to hear “Peace be with you”. My first stop this morning was prayer – and those words rung in my ears as I felt the Holy Spirit topping me up. As I attempt to deal with all the tasks facing me I know God is equipping me for them. I truly do feel his peace.
(There’s many levels inbetween, and for the sake of brevity I will provide just one more thought!)
On another level, my eye has been severely distracted by the news. North Korea attempting to launch Missiles/Rockets, Iran setting up its Nuclear programme, Taliban attacks in Afghanistan, Syria looking very likely to go pear shaped, Anders Breivik on trail in Norway, economic news in Spain, Italy and Greece once again frightens the world’s markets, and in local news my post office is targeted by armed robbers in a terrifying raid. “Peace be with you”, I hear you say? You must be joking.
But if we don’t find that peace then these events that happen in our world will overwhelm us. The peace that God offers isn’t just an aesthetic or a smoke screen or a distraction. It’s a gift. A weapon. A tool. An aid. It helps us to make sense of the senseless, it gives a certain amount of power to those who feel powerless. God’s peace doesn’t make the world’s tragedies invisible. God’s peace provides an urgency to prayer, a call to service, a heart for worship, a desire to care.
On the bottom level, it’s good to know we haven’t been abandoned. The death of Jesus, or even the resurrection of Jesus, doesn’t mean we have been left on our own. Or as Rick Morley says, we are not cast off:
What an honour for us. And, what a redemptive moment for all of creation, that our Risen Lord doesn’t cast us off, but instead makes us new.
Yes, the working week is back with us. But glory alleluia, the Easter love of God is deep in our hearts and lives.
To each and every one of you, with great sincerity I say: “Peace be with you!”