Sunday, March 23, 2008

Alleluia! Jesus is risen! We have been on a journey. And now, the journey of Lent—with its powerful encounters, with its building drama of challenges and conflicts—is finished. Now, the journey through Holy Week and the Three Days—the final walk through Jesus’ turbulent life, betrayal, cross and burial—is complete. But the celebration of new life and resurrection has just begun.

Weather-permitting, this is where I’ll be on Easter Sunday, after we’ve sung our alleluias throughout the morning. I’ll be in a garden, sharing a meal, with neighbors I barely know. One host is an artist and dancer, who makes art from junk he finds in the dumpsters and who has the most amazingly wild corner garden I’ve seen in Chicago. Another host is an artist of another kind--she bakes incredible “sugarkist” desserts. And other neighbors invited promise to be a motley crew because these two artists invite with abandon.

And I will be there, for the Easter egg hunt and egg decorating and potluck… but that’s not all. I will be there as one “chosen by God as a witness, one who has eaten and drank with Jesus after he rose from the dead.” What does this mean? I will be in a garden, sharing a meal... Might I see the one Mary mistook for a gardener? Might I be called upon to share some good news of resurrection, since I am a witness?

My most favorite “title” I’ve ever been given came from a friend, who was introducing me in a group where I think he sensed “pastor” might feel alienating. He introduced me as a “soul artist.” And, I’m pretty sure that this articulates the Spirit’s invitation on this day when God has acted. The Spirit sings, “Join with me in this creative endeavor.”

How might we share the good news of Jesus with creativity, joy and artistry? With love & delight? As those who have shared a meal with Jesus, who have received forgiveness through Jesus’ name, may we recognize the Gardener, who calls each one by name.

Alleluia! Jesus is risen!

Creative God, on this day, you have acted. Forgive us for the ways we fail to recognize you and fail to proclaim deep joy. Thank you for accompanying us on the journey and for leading us into the future. Alleluia!