Easter - The Resurrection
As trite as it may sound, I love Handel’s Messiah. It’s not just because I am a devotee of Baroque music, or because I marvel as the divine inspiration which led Handel to compose this 1741 masterwork in just 21 days; it’s because for me, Messiah is devotional music. With simplicity and clarity, Messiah beautifully and poignantly lifts up themes corresponding to Advent (Part 1), Lent (Part 2), and Easter (Part 3). In my incessant listening this Lent and Easter to a wonderful recording by The Sixteen – an English choral ensemble conducted by Harry Christophers – I realized that there is a big difference in the length of each part. On this particular recording, Part 1 (Advent) is 52 minutes; Part 2 (Lent) is 53 minutes; and Part 3 (Easter) is only 34 minutes! That’s right, the shortest part is Easter and the longest is Lent! Even Handel -- in the 18th century --seemed to have more interest in expressing the solemnity and challenge of Lent than the joy and blessing of Easter. This certainly is the case with the world we live in, and it was certainly the case with my Easter sermon. I just didn’t celebrate the Resurrection enough! So here is an addendum to the Easter sermon:
I fully affirm the Resurrection of Christ! I believe that Christ appeared to the disciples. Do I completely understand what took place 2000 years ago? Well not exactly. But I do believe that the power of God broke into history in the most extraordinary way to give us all new life, new possibility, new blessing, and new joy!
How can I be so certain? Because I have experienced the Risen Christ –
in mystical moments of Christ’s presence during profound worship experiences, especially
prayer and Holy Communion and music.
in unexpected and deep human encounters whose richness touches the heart.
in witnessing the healing of body, mind, and spirit.
in moments of natural beauty which defy my limited human imagination. in the energy and commitment shared when joining with community to create justice and love.
What about you? How have you experienced the Risen Christ? Please share your experiences. And if you have questions about all of this – perhaps this language remains suspect to you – I’d love to hear your words as well.