Rise and Shine

April 2, 2013

The road to Camp Don Lee from our house is part dirt, part pavement just wide enough for one car most of the way. It takes maybe five minutes, depending on traffic, to reach camp where our Easter Sunrise Worship was being held. At 6:15 in the morning we were the only car on River Road. From our house camp is a left turn. All other Pamlico County traffic turns right into camp. Sometimes we have gone to sunrise service and the cars coming in from Arapahoe and Bayboro are lined up like the closing scene from Field of Dreams… “if you build it, they will come.” Today there was only one car coming from the direction of town. Tom had the left signal on and stopped for the car coming toward to make the right into camp. The coming car didn’t turn. The driver missed the turn. Likely in the early morning, not quite awake fog, he missed it. How many of us miss the turn to Resurrection? (That was my first question of Easter morning.) Nearly 300 people gathered at camp, on the edge of the same water that has been my place of meditation all week. The flatbed trailer that served as chancel was there with three pastors and one singer, a portable sound system and some karaoke CDs of hymns. “Morning has broken, like the first morning…” We sang the new day, the day of Christ’s rising and shining new light into the world. The preacher on the platform preached Peter’s first sermon from the book of Acts. Peter is preaching to the Gentiles about Jesus and “how God anointed Jesus with the Holy Spirit and with power from on high; how he went about doing good and healing… about how he was crucified and how God raised him from the dead on the third day.” Then Peter, like the preacher on the platform, and the preacher whose Easter sermon I read earlier in the week, all of them come to the same conclusion: When we have seen the Lord, we are witnesses and are called to bear the witness forward. All of what I heard and read was punctuated last night as one of the Lost Boys of the Sudan genocide spoke about his faith, and his call to give witness to the goodness of God. Witness seems to be the word I carry away from Easter this year. Yesterday in the church on the sea, there were a people gathered there in hopes of seeing the Risen Lord. There were those who were grieving, those out of work, those deplete from care-giving. The preacher on the platform looked at each one – whom she obviously knew - as she spoke to their particular status in the human condition. There is such hope in this Risen Lord; there is so much we are yet called to do and to be as people who have seen the Lord. Could it be that when the witness is weak it is because we have missed the turn to Resurrection, driving right by? Perhaps the first work still is putting ourselves in a place to see Christ. Make the right turns. Slow down that you miss the road. Don’t pass by and not notice Christ… alive in every person, every creature, everything that is around us, beginning with dawn. The driver in the car who missed the turn drove a few yards past the road he was to turn right onto. He slammed on his breaks, backed up, and made correction so he would not miss celebrating with the people of God the glorious mystery of Resurrection. Rise and shine people of God. It’s our turn to tell the world this good news. St. Francis says, “use words if necessary.” Love, encourage, forgive, bring goodness wherever you go. Christ is risen. Christ is risen, indeed. Alleluia! Amen.  

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March 31, 2013