Guest Post: After Easter (Part I)

by Anna Blanch on October 29, 2009

This fine (overcast and rainy) Scottish morn I bring you a guest post from Preston Yancey. Preston is a talented writer who also has a blog of his own over at http://www.seeprestonblog.com. You can take a look at some of the other recent contributors and their profiles here.  Part 2 of this post will appear tomorrow morning.

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After Easter
Preston Yancey

I once had the opportunity to attend St. Paul’s Episcopal Church for the Feast of St. Francis. Typically, the feast is marked by the members of the congregation bringing their pets to the service as a symbolic consecration of the creation we as God’s people have been entrusted with back to the Creator. It is thus normal to hold the service outdoors, as the excess of dogs, cats, and the possible snake or two isn’t the cleanest environment to subject the chapel to. However, this was a rainy Sunday and the service had to be moved indoors. Gathered in the Parish Hall, we assembled ourselves in rows and made due, holding the Eucharist uninhibited with the accompanying tones of a barking dog or hissing cat now and then. Close to the end of the service, at the time after the Peace had been exchanged and the congregation was invited forward to take of the Sacrament, a small girl of about six came forward to receive Communion. When she reached the Priest, she solemnly received what she was told was “the body of Christ,” and with equal reverence she raised the wafer to her tongue. This was when things took a turn. The wafer began to slip and, instead of seeking the aid of her hands, the young girl tried to use her tongue to work the wafer back into her mouth. This resulted in the wafer being stuck to the side of her cheek. Tears welled in her eyes and, when the wafer slipped off and hit the ground, the young girl burst into tears and promptly cried out, “Jesus!” in shock and horror.

We hear such a story and are tempted to laugh at the hearts of children, to be delighted in the simple way they approach the world. But, I wonder if sometimes we too should not be more horrified when the Communion wafer hits the ground. Not because it has been changed into the Body, not because there is any magic or mysticism in the observance of the Feast, but because what the Eucharist symbolizes is the central cause for the hope that we may partake in. We live in a time after Easter; we live in the age of the resurrected Lord. So why do we walk around burdened by the world? Why are we saddened by the day to day? Christ the Lord has risen. He is risen. He is risen indeed. The present tense of that Easter tiding, that He is risen, means that we have been, are now, and shall always be in a time of great and abundant freedom and encouragement. As He lives, so we live in Him.

Let’s consider that Sunday, when He rose from the grave, the early morning when the friends of Christ, including Mary Magdalene, came to prepare His body with the spices and herbs of proper burial. The Gospel of John tells us that Mary, weeping outside the empty tomb, looked inside and saw two angels who asked why she wept. In what we can only imagine was utter devastation, she replied that she wept for they had taken away her Lord and she didn’t know where He was. Then, starting in verse 14 of the 20th chapter of John, “When she had said this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, and did not know that it was Jesus. Jesus said to her, ‘Woman, why are you weeping? Whom are you seeking?’ Supposing Him to be the gardener, she said to Him, ‘Sir, if you have carried Him away, tell me where you have laid Him, and I will take Him away.’ Jesus said to her, ‘Mary!’ She turned and said to Him in Hebrew, ‘Rabboni!’ (which means, Teacher).” Do not overlook the significance of this moment. We do not simply rejoice for our Lord has risen, we rejoice for the risen Lord calls us by name. By His voice we know Him, for He has called us and our hearts have responded. We live in this time after Easter, this time when the risen Lord calls us directly and we respond with hearts overflowing not only for the joy of the Resurrection but for the joy that He is a personal Saviour, deeply in love with each and every one of us who, when He has called, have answered with the cry, “Rabboni!”

Remember the power of the Resurrection. The Scripture tells us that Christ died and rose again so that the power and dominion of Satan and all things of darkness no longer had cause for victory on the earth. The war has already been won; we now wait for the glorious appearing when His purposes for this age have reached their end. 2 Corinthians 5:1-5 tells us, “For we know that if the earthly tent which is our house is torn down, we have a building from God, a house not made with hands, eternal in the heavens. For indeed in this house we groan, longing to be clothed with our dwelling from heaven, inasmuch as we, having put it on, will not be found naked. For indeed while we are in this tent, we groan, being burdened, because we do not want to be unclothed but to be clothed, so that what is mortal will be swallowed up by life. Now He who prepared us for this very purpose is God, who gave to us the Spirit as a pledge.” We know that we live in a fallen world, a world desperate for restoration, but we also know that this is not our end. There is a longing for the coming of the Lord, but let us not forget that He has already come once and is risen! That He is coming again is the hope we have for the end things, that He has already come and is risen is the hope we have for today. Put on the garment of praise and stand in the knowledge that the Lord is presently within our midst and has given us power through Him to withstand the toils and ills of this world as we groan for the redemption of His creation.

What a freedom we have been given in the age after Easter. Romans 8:15-17 tells us, “For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, ‘Abba! Father!’ The Spirit Himself testifies with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, heirs also, heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him so that we may also be glorified with Him.” As He is risen, as we have put our trust in Him and called Him, “Rabboni,” so we have been given the freedom of being co-heirs with Christ, so that we have the freedom to come to God, to participate with Him as His tools of redemption in this world, and to become like Him. We do not live in a world overcome by the powers of darkness so much that we are unable to hope or offer prayers of praise, we live in a world where the power of the Lord of Lords has poured out upon the fallen sphere and breathed into it the chance and hope of redemption. So have confidence in our inheritance, face the dark things with the knowledge of the victory we have already become a part of. The fallen world needs those who have been washed in the atoning sacrifice to be mindful of the redemption they are apart of. Romans 8:19-22 says, “For the anxious longing of the creation waits eagerly for the revealing of the sons of God. For the creation was subjected to futility, not willingly, but because of Him who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself also will be set free from its slavery to corruption into the freedom of the glory of the children of God. For we know that the whole creation groans and suffers the pains of childbirth together until now.” Sometimes we forget that the whole of creation fell along with Man, so that it now waits eagerly for the redemptive process that will turn it back to the Creator. Do not live as afflicted by darkness and surrounded by its hold, but as those who live in the promise of the risen Lord. As we have been redeemed and our sojourning in His will, so we reveal Him to the world that longs to see Him. We are to be examples; we are to be tangible witnesses to His power. Turn your face heavenward and let a smile overcome you, for your eyes have seen the risen Lord and you have been given reason to hope. This is for our sake as well. Romans 8:23-25 says, “And not only this, but also we ourselves, having the first fruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting eagerly for our adoption as sons, the redemption of our body. For in hope we have been saved, but hope that is seen is not hope; for who hopes for what he already sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, with perseverance we wait eagerly for it.” We are not only to act as those who have been made free for the sake of this world but for ourselves. What profit is it to us to neglect that most precious gift of freedom we have been given, choosing to live lives of sadness over the life of joy that we have been given in the risen Lord? So let our hearts be fortified in His promises, remembering the abundance of Providence that has been poured out upon us and has consecrated us to the service of the Eternal King.


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In the next section, I will explore what the ramifications of living in a time After Easter really means for us today. Looking at the end of Dante’s journey as allegory, I argue for a communal network of believers and a relational model of active redemption in the world. That we have been redeemed is only the first step in a lifetime of pursuing Him.

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