Sunday, April 14, 2013

Jesus Is On the Loose!

“The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!’ Then they told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread.” (Luke 24:34-35)

A few years ago, Bishop Mike Coyner (a Bishop in our United Methodist Church) shared an experience he had while leading a  children’s moment during worship in which he was talking with the children about Easter.  He asked “What did it mean that the tomb was empty?”  And without missing a beat, one of them  replied enthusiastically “It means that Jesus is on the loose!”

Mike takes it from there:  “That child was right.  Easter is not about worshipping a Risen Christ who is captured in our stained-glass windows, or in our wonderful choir cantatas, or in beautiful Easter lilies, or even in dynamic sermons proclaiming ‘Christ is Risen!’  No, Jesus cannot be contained in our celebrations of Easter.  He is on the loose!  He is out ahead of us!  He is already leading the way into new life.  In fact, the message of Easter seems to be, ‘You just missed him.  He was just here, but he is gone already.’  What do we do with such a Jesus?  He won’t stay long in any one place.  He is always moving on to the next place of need.

I heard a story a few years ago about a church that voted to open its doors to a homeless shelter.  This caused quite a controversy in that staid, respectable, religious congregation.  In fact, one woman who opposed the idea confronted her pastor in great anger by yelling, ‘If Jesus knew you were letting those dirty people into our church, he would roll over in his grave!’  She had missed the whole point of Easter:  Jesus isn’t in his grave.  He is on the loose.  And he is leading us to do ministry in hard places, with difficult people, in circumstances that are not easy…..

So, let’s take time to celebrate Easter.  But then let’s hurry on to try to catch up with Jesus, because he’s still on the loose!”

[--Bishop Mike Coyner, cited in the newsletter of Trinity-on-the-Hill UMC (Augusta, GA) April 20, 2001, Vol. 48, Issue 15]

Remember, God loves you and I do, too!

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