Easter

I like how the Rev’d David Sellery describes our Easter text this morning. “They weren’t looking for the Risen Jesus. They were sure he was lost forever. And then he was there with them…walking and talking, explaining scripture, opening doors to spirituality. He moved with them so easily, so unobtrusively that they did not recognize the risen Savior until he revealed himself in the breaking of the bread.”

The Risen Jesus is with us always…all through the day and in every one we meet. But all too often Jesus goes unrecognized. He is only a Sunday presence at best…here for the breaking of the bread and then ignored in our self-absorption. That’s not God’s plan. We are meant to not only see the Risen Jesus we call the Christ, but to engage him, connect with him, learn from him and find meaning our relationship with him.

Look around you. We are surrounded by countless distractions. The Risen Jesus is in our midst constantly. But we fail to see him. He promises us: Behold I am with you always, even unto the end of the world. The Risen Jesus is here, but too often we don’t see him. To see the Risen Jesus, to recognize him, we need to be engaged. It’s not a painful or even a particularly difficult task, but it does take practice. It takes a daily, conscious effort to connect with this Risen Jesus and to stay connected throughout the day, looking for opportunities to share his love.

David Sellery says that the formula for this is simple. It’s called prayer. Part of it is spoken. But most of it is lived. It is not enough that we are alert to the Risen Jesus in our midst. It is not enough that we recognize him. When we see the Risen Jesus there is a call to engage him. Significantly, the disciples recognized Jesus in the breaking of the bread. For two thousand years Communion has been one way to be with the Risen Jesus, for Jesus preached and lived a belief that in Holy Community we experience God. What could be and can be a better way to bring the community together in the spirit of abundant love than a meal?

 

What are we doing today to look for the Risen Jesus, to see the Risen Jesus, to recognize the Risen Jesus…to welcome the Risen Jesus? For many, these are the questions that define our lives. They are built reflexively into our day. For others they are unfamiliar, awkward, and uncomfortable. But for all of us, there is one simple constant: The Risen Jesus is in our midst. What are we going to do about it? We need only engage. The Risen Jesus is in our midst…in love, in community, in a meal…only a discerning prayer away.

                                                                                                                                The refrain I want to commend to you this Easter season comes from that old spiritual Open My Eyes That I May See. It goes like this:

Silently now I wait for Thee,
Ready my God, Thy will to see,
Open my eyes, illumine me,
Spirit divine!

I am asking that you sing this refrain whenever you encounter a place you sense may include the Risen Jesus.

 

I asked my friend Brian to walk around our city with his camera to discern places and people where he felt his heart burning within him (Luke 24:32). Here are some of the photos he took. These are all places and people you and I see most every day.

Photo 1

We drive along Gottingen many days of the week and we pass the Salvation Army Centre of Hope. As you see the men sitting and standing outside can you see the Risen Jesus in your midst? Let’s sing the refrain and see if you do.

Photo 2

How many of you sit around a table with friends or family each week. It does not matter the setting. As you sit there and look around the table can you see the Risen Jesus in your midst? Let’s sing the refrain and see if you do.

Photo 3

At your home, whether you live alone or with others, when you enjoy your meal, can you see the Risen Jesus in your midst? If you sit alone remember the ancient story of Elijah, the empty chair placed at the table in expectation that the Messiah will come. Do you sense his presence with you, even as you sit alone? Let’s sing the refrain and see if you do.

Photo 4

If you take the bus each day or travel with someone in a car can you see the Risen Jesus in your midst? Let’s sing the refrain and see if you do.

Photo 5

There are not many here who do not visit a local Tim Horton’s on a weekly basis. Can you see the Risen Jesus in your midst? Let’s sing the refrain and see if you do.

Photo 6

I know many of you attend Mooseheads games or some regular event at an arena. Can you see the Risen Jesus in your midst? Let’s sing the refrain and see if you do.

Photo 7

I know many of you go for a regular walk. Can you see the Risen Jesus in your midst? Let’s sing the refrain and see if you do.

Photo 8

I know many of you curl or play another sport, in the winter or the summer. Can you see the Risen Jesus in your midst? Let’s sing the refrain and see if you do.

Photo 9

I look around the church and I see many who go to the Oval in the winter. Can you see the Risen Jesus in your midst? Let’s sing the refrain and see if you do.

Photo 10

I know many of you like nothing more than to sit alone in God’s great Creation and take in its beauty. Can you see the Risen Jesus in your midst? Let’s sing the refrain and see if you do.

Photo 11

Some of you visit your loved ones at a cemetery. There you remember them and you celebrate the relationships you enjoyed. On this Easter day can you see the Risen Jesus in your midst? Let’s sing the refrain and see if you do.

Photo 12

Finally, it rains a lot here in Halifax. A lot. And sometimes after a heavy rain we witness a rainbow, a Biblical reminder that “it (the rainbow) shall be a sign of the covenant between me (God) and the earth.” As we look at the rainbow can you see the Risen Jesus in your midst? Let’s sing the refrain and see if you do.

The authorities who put Jesus to death could not contain his Spirit and his presence. The resurrection was and is real and remains present. I pray that all us, all of us, open our eyes that we may see. Amen.