Easter: An Invitation to a Place Called Grace

April 16, 2017

Today we gather with the greatest of Joy, we gather to celebrate the greatest of Hope.  Our Savior Jesus Christ is risen from the dead.  The Light of the Risen Lord has been waiting for us.  The Waters of Rebirth and Recommitment have been waiting for us.  The Food of His Body and Blood has been waiting for us.  All of this, given freely, has been prepared since before the beginning of time.  It awaits us to take it into our daily lives.

One of the places that intrigued me when I used to run races was the finish line.  I would often go to check out the marathon finish line the day before or a few days before the race.  I remember just being drawn into it.  I knew it awaited me with every step I took on race day.  Sometimes I just prayed I would see it again after 26.2 miles.  When I ran the Boston Marathon, it was especially profound.  I had seen the finish line as a child when we went vacationing there with my folks and seeing it again, knowing there was the chance to cross it for real, was powerful.  A finish line is created to signal an ending and a beginning.  You go from being a runner to becoming a finisher.  In just one step, you are changed.  In just one step, the definition of yourself is redefined.  You are no longer a runner, but a finisher

The empty tomb invites us to take that one step.  The tomb found empty is both the starting line and the finish line.  In the Gospel, once the disciple enters, he crosses the line and belief happens.  Once we enter the Holy Mystery, belief happens.  Once we go to that place where science can’t explain it, social media can’t control it, and the powers of this world can’t destroy it, we begin to enter a place of Grace.  Even death itself has no power.  The starting line and finishing line are one in the same at the tomb.  We cross a line into all things eternal. The definition of ourselves is changed by God forever. We are Redeemed.  We go from being lost to being found, we go from being sinners to being forgiven. The tomb itself was created for just this purpose. Something empty becomes the place of lasting fullness.

With just one step today, we can enter all things eternal.  With just one step today we can allow all of the Grace of God to flow into our lives.  All of our steps matter. This one is crucial.  It is a paradox, it is a mystery, it is an invitation to be redefined by Him.  When we do, His Grace will overflow to Hope.  When we allow His death to redefine our sin, His Redemptive Love enters the world.  When we allow His Resurrection to redefine our loss and pain, His Hope conquers all things.  When we allow His Body and Blood to redefine us, our hunger will never lead us astray.

This Easter, my prayer for all of us, is that we allow God to redefine us.

May His Light inspire us and may His Joy never leave our hearts.

Reverend John J. Ouper