â€œLaughter of the Redeemedâ€
One of the prayers lifted up almost weekly in our Wednesday morning prayer/study group is that we would be Easter people.Â This is an important prayer for April as we transition from Lentâ€™s preparations to Easter celebrations.
It is also important for us to consider what it means to be Easter people.Â One can think of Christâ€™s action at Easter as stop on the Monopoly Board game where you access the â€œGet out of Jail Freeâ€ card that can be used at some future point.Â Easter can be thought of being all about grabbing a â€œget out of hell freeâ€ card that we can use when we die.Â But such thinking is limiting.Â As significant as Jesus who conquers earthly deathâ€™s power, there is more.Â As fundamental as the promise to share heavenâ€™s eternity one day, there is more.Â There is the gift of new life here and now.
One of my favorite theologians is Jurgen Motlman who speaks well to hope we have in the here and now.Â He writes the â€œwith the resurrection the dance of the liberated and the laughter of the redeemed begins.â€Â This Easter dance and this Easter joy has been set against the gospel of death and violence.Â Â Â Easterâ€™s promise is that we do not have to live in the â€œhellsâ€ of greed, violent word and action.Â The Resurrection proclaims that we do not have to live devoid of forgiveness or not know our worth as human beings created in Godâ€™s image.Â Also, we do not need to live into the â€œhellâ€ of isolation that demands we pull ourselves up on our own bootstraps from grief, illness, or poverty (physical or spiritual).Â Instead of isolation, we can live into the communion we share with Christ and the community shared with friends in Christ.Â Easterâ€™s liberated new life begins here and now.
Easterâ€™s dance is underway and beckons us to share in the â€œlaughter of the redeemedâ€.Â Like any good jig others may feel compelled to dance.Â Authentic church community shows this Easter joy in care and encouragement for one another.Â Others can see Easterâ€™s dancing lived out as justice is shared in a warm meal, or speaking boldly for just change to places of power, or proclaiming equity to uphold the dignity of all human beings.
May our prayer to be Easter people be answered in an embrace of the joy, dance and laughter of the redeemed. May our dancing and joy be contagious to others in what we do and say.
In Easterâ€™s Joy, Pastor Marian