What We Saw! Let’s pray….Rev. Stuart C. Buisch
It is an interesting thing to think about what was seen on Easter. NO body of Jesus in the tomb; a gardener, who when he speaks, is seen to be Jesus; guards who are stone silent and motionless or perhaps missing all together and then covered for later when the Jesus isn’t there; the graveclothes are seen, the head piece folded separately and that means….; All of this is interesting and I haven’t even finished the list.
What did you see when you came to worship? The people, the flowers, the use of a bulletin and nothing else in your hands….What did you see as again you sat at home unable to be at worship safely? The service on the internet, the paper bulletin and sermon, the online version in your email, the empty spots in your living room or kitchen as you worship alone…
A few generations after that first Easter, as John writes to the churches in his charge, he focuses on seeing. Over the next few weeks we are going to listen to John’s first letter. Four times John uses the verb seen and twice revealed – another kind of seeing as he tells the early church that which is important to him about faith in Jesus Christ. We certainly could approach this text and ask what he is speaking to, what is he responding to in the church. But maybe he is starting the conversation with those who have not met him personally. He is writing down things that are important to him about what he believes.
His experience of faith is not a new thing. It started at the beginning. It predates his experience but he wants us to know that his experience has been had for many generations – an encounter with a God who is real. Seen in Adam, Noah, Abraham, Moses, Elijah, Nahum and John, the baptizer. God is seen.
But now John is saying that there is something new and different. Jesus was heard, was seen, was seen and handled. But not just that. These phrases are possible because God revealed. Lots of people saw Jesus, both before and after his death, he was revealed and not everyone received that revelation. John is concerned about that and wants to tell his experience of this force, this word and its impact in his life. What he saw changed his whole world. Now he has met the creator, he has met the one who speaks for him but can also be encountered like Jesus of Nazareth. He wants to share that because when you encounter Christ Jesus you can’t hide it under a rock, you can’t forget about the freedom that comes from his love for you. The forgiveness received from Jesus must be shared, it is too big to keep for oneself. That can be the only way a young husband and father can forgive the killer of his parents and his two children. That is not human and will not last if it is human. Only in fellowship with God can we manage the tragedies of life, the chaos of pandemic, the division of our time and the delight in spite that seems so prevalent.
Indeed John is talking this way because it has given him joy and he can’t hoard it.
So the question comes to us. What do we see in Easter? We live in a most interesting time because two or more people can look at the same thing and see very different things. But when it comes to faith in Jesus Christ can we see forgiveness? New life?
When it comes to the resurrection can we see that our souls go on after our bodies die in this life?
Is our faith our experience or simply something that someone else told us?
John is most keen to share his experience of God and Jesus because it so deeply changed his life. But Easter could just be a day for eating out, buying flowers, getting a new shirt or outfit, feeling spring.
Easter calls us out of our complacency and into a life lived like Christ. Today we cannot touch, see, and handle Christ all in our heads. If we say we believe in Jesus then our lives must live that out. No human can tell another human how to do that. Each one lives Christ out in their own way. However, everyone can see things that go beyond human capacity. Everyone knows grace when it touches them, whether they have that word for it or not. Those who have experienced Christ in their lives can see it when it happens in others. Sometimes they can see what the individual displaying Christ cannot see. In the name of the Almighty, the all Giving, and the Ever-Present, Amen.
Creator of flowers and bird and life, stir our hearts to worship…
Savior of Sinners, saints and those outside…
Spirit of Christ Jesus and the Upper room, ignite our bodies for service…