Guest Post: After Easter (Part II)

by Anna Blanch on October 30, 2009

As promised, this morning I bring you the second part of a guest post from Preston Yancey titled “After Easter”.  You can take a look at some of the other recent contributors and their profiles here.  Part 1 of this post can be found here.

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After Easter
Part II
Preston Yancey

Previously, I explored the significance of living in a time After Easter. If Christ has indeed risen, we should no longer wear a frown on our face or have remorse in this world. The abundance of His goodness has given us the right to be heirs with Him so that we may be active participants in the redemption of the world. We are pursuing a shadow of Paradise, imperfect and yet worthy of our labors for the great Good it can bring.

And what if we were to offer ourselves up to Him in such a joyous way? What might we see? When Dante enters Paradise at the end of the Divine Comedy, he first encounters an outer ring of saints farthest away from God in Heaven. He questions one of them, asking if she wishes to be closer to the Lord. The saint, surprised, responds about the infinite nature of God’s love and its abundance in Heaven, which, for Dante, made “clear . . . that everywhere in Heaven is Paradise.” (Dante, Paradise III.88-89) If we read Dante allegorically and view his journey as the journey our souls take as we pursue the Lord, what conclusions could we draw from this version of Heaven, especially if we consider this Heaven something we might hope to obtain in part on earth? For Colossians 3:1-2 says, “Therefore if you have been raised up with Christ, keep seeking the things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your mind on the things above, not on the things that are on earth.” We have been commanded to turn our focus on High, but that is not to neglect the world. Rather, through the virtue of our focus on the risen Lord, we fulfill the task we have been given to prove a hope for the world that longs to hear of hopeful things, to hear of the One who offers to them the promise of New Life and the life abundant.

So what does this look like? Well, suddenly it no longer matters if someone is a doctor or a trash collector, for the doctor is a doctor because he was created to be so, the trash collector created to be so as well. So what if one is rich and the other power? The rich man gives a blanket to the poor man when he is cold, for the Lord blessed the rich so that he might give his things away as he could to bless others. Suddenly social title does not matter, for everywhere is community, a group of Believers all working toward the same end, seeking God together. When one sins, it is no longer about condemnation and blame but love and temperance, supporting the fallen for we all recognize that we are imperfectly seeking the same perfect end. True Believers’ community, where none is greater than anyone else, where everywhere is a form of earthly Paradise, where denominations don’t matter for some need one form of worship and others something different. For there is indeed but one God and one Church. True, we disagree about doctrine, but if on the whole we agree on the basic message of Grace, the rest shall be worked out in the fear and trembling of our pursuit of what the result of our Salvation looks like: a redemptive walk toward the fullness of the Lord, to see the Lord. Could this be the end that Colossians 3:23-24 points to when it says, “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance it is the Lord Christ whom you serve.” If we lived in the knowledge that all we do is in the service of our Lord and that, after Easter, it is now in the freedom of a won victory over the evils of this most temporal world, how different would our earth look? When Believers join together in true community, what greatness awaits? So, Christian, live according to the name by which you have been called. Love. Be moved to serve and act kindly toward others. Offer a smile to the person sitting beside you, talk to your neighbor when you seem then in their yard, avoid petty quarrels about denominational allegiance, uphold first the love of Christ and let that be your guide in all things. Live. That is the key message of this sermon. Live. Live in the Truth of the resurrection, in the time that is after Easter, assured of what it means for you today: you are free; you are empowered; you are blessed.

The next time you take the Eucharist, when you hold the symbol of the Body in your hands, remember what it means that you live in the time of the resurrected Lord. Go and live. Go and do.

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