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Sunday, April 12, 2009

Tali Hani, ahumbukie!

This is the phrase we were told to repeat in church today: He's not here, he's risen! As the preacher retold the story, I tried to think of the ways I look for Jesus in the wrong place. Do I prefer an entombed Jesus, one who is to be thanked and pitied but is safely out of the way, stationary, controlled, and findable? Do I expect him to follow my rules and meet my expectations? Probably. Instead, He sends a messenger or two to announce the truth. He's not here, He's on the move, out in the garden, awakening the day, making all things new. Scarred but whole, achieving victory through absorbing the pain and suffering of all humanity and emerging to breathe life into His world. Calling us to love our enemies, to carry our crosses, to rest in His mercy.

This has been a full weekend, of many hours of prayer and fasting, and now of celebration. We create space by following the rituals of remembrance, space for Jesus to come and to act. But we do not control the outcome, and we wait expectantly to see what He will do in the coming weeks and months. This morning's worship was a foretaste: first we all crawled out of bed for a brief outdoor sunrise worship, then Jack and I attended the Church of Uganda just up the road to see Ndyezika and Juliet's 3 month old baby Arthur Atukunda baptized. Arthur screamed his head off but the atmosphere of holy ceremony and loving community prevailed. Then we joined the rest of the family and most of the team and a few hundred other lively worshipers at Bundimulinga New Life church. In two more hours the whole team will gather here for a family meal together (and last night we had a blast at Naomi's Egyptian Birthday party complete with silly costumes, games, and creative stories and songs presented to her by various talented team mates). Some other or our friends will probably come by today, too.

Easter is a morning of freshness, beginnings, and community. But tinged with cost. Three years ago, at midnight on Easter night, my Dad died. Just now we got news that Scott's dad had a somewhat serious bike accident this weekend and is coming home from the hospital, recovering. The memory of my Dad's long-suffering, and the present reality of Scott's Dad's injuries, reminds us that the celebration, though begun, is not complete. That Jesus is not always doing what we expect, or want. That we have to look out of the tomb and follow him into this world or risk and loss, until we also resurrect. That death, though defeated, still puts up a fight, and catches those we love in the cross-fire.

So these are words of faith, not sight. When they were uttered, Jesus was not visible. The women who heard them had to go forward in faith. He is not here, He is risen indeed.


Cindy Nore said...

Hi Jennifer. I know today must be bittersweet as you celebrate Easter and mourn your dad - my dad died on Valentine's Day, and I know mixing the theme of holidays, especially one as emotional as Easter is, can be very taxing emotionally. Your family and especially your mom will be in my prayers in a special way today. I was so sorry to read that Scott's dad was injured and will also pray for a speedy recovery. Thanks as always for taking the time to write such moving and spirit filled posts - they encourage me more than I can say. With love - Cindy Nore

rach to the h said...

great, thanks! i love seeing Amina in the photo above.
here at Blacknall, we say: He is Risen! response: He is Risen Indeed!!