Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Third Sunday of Easter--Luke 24.13-35

Blair Gilmer Meeks suggests that all of the texts for this third Sunday of Easter portray the resurrection as a "present reality in our lives." 

She continues, "But reality itself and its relation to our own individual realities continue to baffle us.... The reality of the resurrection for Christians will not have an easy time in a world that firmly attaches itself to realities promising short-term success and happiness. But we are not speaking of something over which we have no control. You and I belong to a community of faith in which the Spirit dwells. We are given that gift of the Spirit by the risen Christ at baptism and many times since. It has made us believers in the resurrection. A privileged people? Yes. We are indeed privileged. But there are condition. We must live as people raised up from sin; or who, knowing us, can be expected to believe the Easter story? We must in some measure raise up a fallen world--those whom sin has felled or those for whom the whole thing is a sham.

It is a glorious thing to celebrate Eucharist at Eastertime.... But we cannot sing 'life' and live death. We can't sing 'joy' and live gloom. Hidden with Christ we may be, but these...fifty days of Easter are a time to come out of the tomb and stand in the light." [From "Serving the Word," Homily Service, 38.5 (April 2005): 36.]

She includes in her reflections this quote from the Orthodox liturgical theologian, Alexander Schmemann:
"The great joy that the disciples felt when they saw the risen Lord, this 'burning of heart' that they experienced on the way to Emmaus, was not because the mysteries of an 'other world' were revealed to them. It was because they saw the Lord. And he sent them to preach and to proclaim not the resurrection of the dead--not a doctrine of death--but repentance and remission of sins, the new life, the kingdom. They announced what they knew, that in Christ the new life has already begun, that he is Life Eternal, the Resurrection and the Joy of the world." [Alexander Schmemann, For the Life of the world (Crestwood, NY: St. Vladimir's Seminary Press, 1973), 31.]
The question Meeks and Schmemann suggest, then, is "How is resurrection a present reality in our lives today?"

Blair Gilmer Meeks is a writer living in Brentwood, Tennessee, and a former staff member of The Liturgical Conference.

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