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Sunday, April 01, 2018

All Things New: Celebrating Resurrection

A dear friend wrote a book about cross-cultural inner-city ministry to the urban poor, called A Thousand Resurrections.  I highly recommend the book, and I also love the title. Today we celebrate THE resurrection, but we also remind ourselves that that event set in motion a thousand, a billion more.  One of the last recorded words of Jesus was this phrase: Behold, I am making all things new.  

Today we worshiped with a multicultural crowd in a garden, a foreshadowing of Heaven.  And I thought about the fulcrum of history, and whether there was any evidence of all things becoming new around us, and I think there is.  Sure, we have a long way to go in seeing the Kingdom operating on earth the way it does in the dimension of God's dwelling.  We are people living in broken systems, sharp edges, and resurgent grief.  Still, consider this. In most of the world, slavery is illegal even if it is not completely exterminated.  Child deaths per year in the world have fallen by half in the time I've been a pediatrician, as infant and maternal survival become more the norm.  Girls can go to school and women can vote in the majority of societies.  A smaller percentage of the world is hungry.  Think of the explosions of art (including music!), creative inventions, scientific insight, even in our own lifetimes.  Think of the inexorable growth of the church on this continent and many others.

That inflection point 2000 years ago makes this a celebratory day.

So, celebrate Easter.  Here is one of the songs we played this morning, under the acacias as the tropical boubous sang in the scrub, which praises the transformation wrought upon the cross with my favorite line "and as you speak, a hundred billion failures disappear . . "

And here is a Malcom Guite sonnet for the day (from Sounding the Seasons), which captures this idea of cascading resurrections, night to day, healing and dawn and newness and hope:

XV Easter dawn

He blesses every love that weeps and grieves
And now he blesses hers who stood and wept 
And would not be consoled, or leave her love's 
Last touching place, but watched as low light crept
Up from the east.  A sound behind her stirs
A scatter of bright birdsong through the air.
She turns, but cannot focus through her tears, 
Or recognize the Gardener standing there.
She hardly hears his gentle question, 'Why,
Why are you weeping?', or sees the play of light
That brightens as she chokes out her reply,
'They took my love away, my day is night.'
And then she hears her name, she hears Love say
The Word that turns her night, and ours, to Day.

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