So it’s the day after… the flowers, the chocolates, the feasting, the talk of love…. That was a great Easter day all around!
It’s a day of joy, knowing that Jesus’ resurrection meant more than a magic trick by God – it meant, and continues to mean, that we – you and I – can have a relationship with God that has already had the air cleared by our forgiveness through Jesus’ death on our behalf. His resurrection means we are not only forgiven but empowered to begin anew with our lives, and set ourselves on the path He laid out for us.
How can we remember and articulate that joy, that RELIEF that comes from knowing that whatever our past mistakes, we are trusted by God to move forward, to make ourselves and the world a little better. Not to coast on the forgiveness and keep doing the wrong thing with the idea that “we ‘re covered” but to truly respond with gratitude and joy to this great gift by God through Jesus: We are renewed through love, and meant to spread that love.
But we know that not everything is rosy, not everything has gotten the complete “do over” the was your spiritual lives have. It’s not renewed for Syrians trapped in their war-torn country. Easter’s promise of new life does not cure members of our own congregation still suffering from ALS or cancer or heart problems. It hasn’t resurrected for our church’s budget or our volunteer capacity to extend our mission.
But we have to keep trying to do what we can in each of these situations to make things better; to live up to the trust God put in us that we are worthy of renewal.
Leonard Cohen’s “Hallelujah” is, to me, a song of affirmation that despite the fact that people have always – and continue – to part from God’s way, and fall short in making ourselves “new”. We can only pick ourselves up each time and humbly try to do what’s right. Written in a minor key, the song has a different “Hallelujah” feel from the ones we sang yesterday in church. And yet, I think it is very relevant to our situation on this “day after”. Here’s the last stanza:
I did my best, it wasn't much
I couldn't feel, so I tried to touch
I've told the truth, I didn't come to fool you
And even though it all went wrong
I'll stand before the lord of song
With nothing on my tongue but hallelujah
Hallelujah (sing with me…)
Let’s keep trying to live up to the gift of renewal we received so joyously yesterday. For a week. For a month. For a whole year.