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John 21:17

The third time he said to him, "Simon son of John, do you love me?"

Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, "Do you love me?" He said, "Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you."

Jesus said, "Feed my sheep."

April 10, 2020

Pandemic, Death and Holy Week

I am the Resurrection and the Life
Jesus said.
He who believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live.

And then he raised his friend Lazarus.

Days later
when the forces of evil took Jesus' life
he demonstrated it again.

Is this the most cherished hope we gain from Easter?
That somehow Jesus has our backs?
That when our own death comes
it will be OK to release and faal
because jesus will be there to caatch us
and yet shall we live.

When I was young
I thought the Resurrection was a nice thing
that God did for Jesus.
His reward from the Father
for how much he had suffered at our hands.

But now
the Paschal mystery is greater.
Christ is Victor—
over sin
over evil
over our created bodies and their mortality
over death.
Over all creation
over the way things appear to be ordered
Jesus is Lord.

He is Lord
not to make us cower in  constant fear that he might reject us over a slight—
at a whim—
and withhold his love
and send us to torment
for all time.

Some would have us believe this for ourselves
But even more so for our neighbors
who are different from us
Some would use Jesus as another wedge
to get us to despise others
and imagine ourselve superior.

It has ever been thus
and it is so now.

But Jesus is not like this distortion.
He is just, faithful, righteous and merciful
like his Father.
He will not break a bruised reed.
He will search for the lost sheep.
He will tenderly care for the mother sheep.

By his signs of healing
By his teaching
By his example of living
By his death
And most assuredly by his resurrection
Jesus embodies all of God's promises.

He is the proof that the promises are true
and that they are true for all:
for us as well as for him.

He is the proof that there is a God who orders the universe
who has a way he wants us to live
for our own sakes
for our neighbors
and for all of creation.

Jesus himself is the embodiment
of all the virtues he asks us to possess
and the way he lays out for us to live.

He is the proof of Gods' love for us
and his power to overcome our greatest creaturely fears:
our short lifetimes
and the inevitability of our deaths.

These seem so close to us now
in the time of pandemic.
Our ephemeral nature confronts us
We are like the flowers of the field
Soon we are gone and fly away.

Jesus is the demonstration for us
of these truths:
God loves his creation
God loves us humans
God holds power over death
What God did for Jesus, God will do for us.

To where do we fly?
Jesus promises we fly to him.
This is the meaning of Easter
in pandemic times
in every time.

Jesus said:
Do not let your hearts be troubled
Believe in God; believe also in me.
In my Father's hourse there are many dwelling places
If it were not true, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you?
And if I go and prepare a place for you
I will come again and will take you to myself
so that where I am, there you may be also.

God holds power over death.
God raised Jesus from the dead.
God will raise us from the dead.
The Holy Spirit witnesses to us that this is so.

This is our Easter hope.
This is our Easter faith.
This is our Easter assurance.
In pandemic time
and in every time.


Christ has been raised from the dead; the first fruits of those who have died.
—1 Corinthians 15:20