Easter: A Homecoming and a way of life
Easter is the ultimate, joyous homecoming for Jesus—-and thankfully the promise for you and me in our own time. The ultimate home is where God abides, where all things are possible and come together for good. It is a place of deep peace, abundant joy, complete acceptance, total knowing, mercy overflowing and remarkable love. No wonder our souls long for it!
I believe Easter is more than just a one-time event, a “grand finale” for a life well-lived. Easter is also God’s blueprint for beautiful, hopeful living in the present. I have Corona to thank for my own spiritual homecoming this Easter: a return home to myself, to what truly matters, to simple joy, to God. Life as I knew it before Corona is over, and the future remains a question mark. Over these last weeks, my heart and I imagine yours, has been on an epic roller coaster ride. One moment, my soul is up, calm and trusting, then I watch a news reel and the bottom drops out, leaving me agitated, restless, and fearful. Finding a spiritual home within the footprint of my earthly home has taken on new and greater importance.
How do we cultivate a spiritual home within our earthly one? The best way for me to speak about this spiritual concept of a “home within a home,” is to welcome you into mine. As you know, home is where it all happens, especially now in these Corona days. Step through my front door, and you can expect a welcome wet nose greeting from Teton, our “teddy bear” Golden retriever, and a bark “hello” from Romeo, our fourteen-year old Bijon. Quickly, you’ll be ushered into our kitchen, the heart of our earthly home. In the center of the room is a table with eight chairs pulled up to it, usually decorated with a vase of flowers. Right now, it’s branches from the Dogwood tree in our front yard. Our house is loud 24/7. Either my six kids are zooming for school in their rooms, or playing outside on the porch or trampoline. Let’s be honest you may hear some sibling sparring. It’s a lot 8 people under one roof. The TV may or may not be on the news, and you can count on Alexa for music. Billy Eilish if the teenagers are downstairs, Indigo Girls or classical piano if I’m at the stove top. Our earthly home is vibrant, busy and the stage for “doing” life. To visit my spiritual home is something al together different. You have to close your eyes, silence the racing thoughts, and set aside the to do lists. In contrast to my earthly home, my spiritual home is blissfully quiet, and it’s only for me! Sometimes I experience it as a chapel, with candles glowing from the altar, other times it’s a beautiful room wallpapered in scriptures I have committed to memory, like Psalm 139 and Jeremiah 29:11. I especially love to rest and refresh in what I imagine as a bucolic garden. My spiritual home is the place where I can just “be,” and connect with that which is greater than myself. The One who gives me that peace that I cannot find anywhere else, especially right now. I confess before Corona, I didn’t visit my spiritual home as often as I should—-now it is my daily salvation.
What are some other ways we can make Easter our every day reality? Jesus would encourage daily gratitude and a discipline of hope, constant connection with God, courage and faith in the face of life’s inevitable trials. The Widow with her sacred mite would say give more than you think you have. The Samaritan’s best advice: Take care of people, especially the ones easily dismissed or forgotten. Never be afraid to ask for forgiveness, offers the Prodigal. His Father would tell you to live with your heart wide open. Even when those closest to you let you down, welcome them home. Life is bigger and more beautiful for it! Paul’s life wisdom: “pray, pray, and pray some more.” Lazarus would tell you not to be afraid to let go of things that no longer serve you, because that is how God gives us new life. God promises that every death is followed by some kind of resurrection. Tenderness says the lady with the alabaster jar, and Mary, the mother of Jesus, would tell you to go for it. Say yes to God, and you will never be disappointed. The disciples exclaim, “follow wherever love leads you.”
This Easter, God is welcoming us home again to a life that is deep and sacred, sometimes transcendent, and saturated with joy. Today we rise again to the challenge of living a life that matters. Easter living does not translate “easy street.” It requires bone, blood, spirit and ridiculous hope. Some days we will be closer to home and Easter living than others. If we are lucky, maybe there will even be those days when we’re sure we experienced something of heaven here on earth. Trust that everything is in you to experience Easter today, next Tuesday, fifty years from now. Untold depths of faith, hope and love are God’s gifts to us. Now it is up to us to make our way. Practice hope. Love well. Extend grace. Give thanks. Trust God. This is the way of Easter!