Now Is The Time Lent Study

#findEaster - Reflections - 4-20-16

 Texts for Sunday April 24, 2016
 Fifth Sunday after Easter

 Acts 11:1-18
 Psalm 148
 Revelation 1:1-6
 John 13:31-35

Two things to start: 

1) I subscribe to a weekly email called World News Weekly Prayer. I get it Friday mornings, on my day off. I tend to either treasure it and find ways to use it in personal and/or corporate prayers or blow it off because I simply cannot care about anymore of suffering (called compassion fatigue). 

2) As a part of Gloria Dei’s celebration of the 50 days of Easter, I invited folks to join me in a scavenger hunt of sorts, except each day we look for the same thing: Easter.  Here’s the invitation from the Growing In Faith (G.I.F.T.) practices each Sunday:

  • Easter lasts for 50 days - so look around to find it each day! Watch for signs of a new day and/or stay alert to things that remind you that Jesus is alive. Give thanks for your experiences. You can also share your discoveries of Easter all around by either taking a digital photo or writing a brief description on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram. #findEaster
OK. The idea isn’t exactly “trending”. But there are two of us who are faithfully sharing our Easter discoveries, almost every day. Lots of wonderful budding, blooming, GREEN stuff. New life. (I’m still waiting to get a photo of this adorable calf along my route to work…little guy is camera shy). 

Putting these together.....This past Friday’s email prayer was especially moving…naming horrors like 400 more girls kidnapped from the Nigerian village of Damasak by the Boko Haram group in Nigeria; like 1 in every 5 Boko Haram suicide bombers is a child, three-quarters of them girls, many drugged; like ISIS child soldiers – 7 and 8 year olds, laughing, thinking killing other human beings with a rifle is as much fun, as much a source of pride, as building a tower of Legos or hitting a softball home run; like in Attawapiskat, a Canadian First Nation town of barely 2,000 people in Northern Ontario, 28 people, mostly teens, attempted suicide in March, with 11 further suicide attempts just this past weekend... You have the picture.  

I used that prayer as my #findEaster submission on Friday. The author wove the crucifixion/resurrection beautifully into the prayer with the repeated refrain: Risen one, you are here. I realized that this prayer was also a poignant example of Easter because of the Revelation texts these past weeks. Revelation’s odd and spectacular images are a constant reminder that the only way to get to Easter is through the Cross. 

So this week we begin John’s wrap up of the book. To get here we have skipped over some pretty spectacular “woes”, plagues, wrath, bloodshed, misery, and battles. And remember this was written to encourage and empower John’s congregation in the midst of its own misery. There is a lot of “cross” in the text and in that congregation. And in our world.

The text tells us that we do not “go to heaven” but rather heaven comes to us…. how very grace-filled. Why does it surprise me each time?? Then it says that God is going live right here with us humans … again, grace-filled. Really this is second time God’s done that if you think about Jesus, so why a surprise? Then it promises that tears will be wiped and death will be no more…along with the mourning and crying and pain goes along with death…grace-filled. Both surprising and amazing.

Then God says “See I am making all things new”.  
I (hashtag) have found Easter!  

Note that it does not say “See I am making new things”. God is taking all that we are, and have, and do and makes it new. God takes all that creation is and has and does and makes that new. That’s a promise.

Remember my fixation these weeks on how everything was and is and will be at all at the same time?  That is true for these verses as well. We are not waiting to escape into a new world later. Instead we partner with God in ways that show the new now…that show the promise now.   

Really - it is all about #findEaster!

Where do you see evidence – in your own life, and in the world around you – that God might already be making things new?

If you see signs of God’s newness, please share!

I'd love to hear your thoughts.

Please use the comment section below (all the way down past the related posts).

Check out the G.I.F.T. post for this Sunday, April 24, for more ways to reflect on these texts. 

How to Find Us

Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in Iowa City

Gathered by grace. Scattered for service.

123 E Market Street
Iowa City, IA 52245