Last week was the beginning of Easter… that’s right. The beginning. Easter isn’t meant to be a day in the year of the church calendar. It is a whole season. Eastertide is marked as 40 days (sound familiar?) from the rising of Jesus until his ascension.
I have a tendency to spend Eastertide in Acts of the Apostles. I know that by the story Acts actually is what comes after Christ’s ascension. But we get very little of what happens in those forty days in the Gospel accounts…a story or two. And more than that I actually like Acts… yes I find a fair amount of it troubling, but how is that new?
So why move to Acts so quickly? Partly because of its very name. Acts. Resurrection isn’t a thinking thing… it’s an action. Faith isn’t, to my mind, meant to be a belief system. It’s a way of living, a lived reality if you will. In Acts, while we do become named Christians, the primary way of reference for these new actors is “followers of the way.” We are people who lives are being lived in the way of Jesus Christ. We look like… act like… resemble Jesus. At least by intention, we fall short of course, but the intention is there.
When Phillip and James, Peter and Paul, act boldly (amazingly bold even) in the name of Jesus they don’t do so because it will let Jesus down. It’s not that God is some great task master that has to be pleased with lots of acts. It’s that the good news that has claimed their life HAS to be lived. It isn’t just a thought we can come back, a part of our lives dedicated to Sunday but separate from our larger whole – our every choice reflects the larger story that has claimed our life. All of who we are is claimed by resurrection, by the way of Jesus Christ.
In such a mode of thinking, as resurrection people, our life either demonstrates abundant life or… it doesn’t. When I make choices to live in ways that lift people up, that show forgiveness and trust, ways that orient me to others in hope, I am claiming the resurrection. When I make choices that are about my good, scarcity and hoarding, building walls and pushing others down so that I can stand on their backs… then I begin to suck life in, I deny resurrection and resemble the tomb more than the risen Lord.
I like to think of it this way. We are a drop in the water that causes ripples… what kind of ripples does your life make? As people of the resurrection, apostles sent out to be bearers of abundant life, our ripples are meant to be affirming, nurturing, life-giving… resurrection ripples.
This Eastertide we will spend time thinking through what it means to be such resurrection people, to reflect on our lives and ask ourselves: what kind of ripples do we make?