Tuesday, May 01, 2007

The Paschal Candle Lights the Way

[I prepared the following for my monthly article in the May 2007 issue of The Good News, St. Alban's monthly newsletter.]

Alleluia! Christ is risen!
The Lord is risen indeed! Alleluia!

Here we are, nearly a month beyond Easter, and already nearly half-way to Pentecost. Has the joy of the Easter celebration worn off yet, or are you still basking in the glow of the new fire kindled at the Great Vigil, the radiance of the Paschal Candle? In our fast-paced world, something that happened nearly a month ago is old news, ancient history. What’s important is what’s happening right now, or what’s going to happen tomorrow. That’s where we need to focus our attention, not on some past event. Right? Wrong!

For us Christians, it’s important to remember Easter every day of our lives. After all, to quote Susan’s Easter Day sermon, “we are an Easter people living in a Good Friday world.” Ours is a religion that exists solely because of Christ’s resurrection. We are incorporated into this religion through baptism, the sacrament in which we are buried in the waters of baptism, as Christ was buried in a borrowed tomb; and we are raised to new life, as Christ was raised from the dead on Easter morning. In our baptism, we share in Christ’s resurrection, freed from the bonds of sin and death, which he broke through his resurrection. We share in a new life of hope, a new life in which we are forgiven by God, in which we are reconciled to God and to one another. We share in a new life that will not just last for the remainder of our natural, mortal lives, but for eternity. We share in an eternal life with God through Christ.

The Resurrection is not a one-time event. It is not the last word in salvation history. Rather, the Resurrection is the first word in the ongoing creation of the new life that is embodied in and through us, this community, the Body of Christ. Yes, we relive it every Easter Vigil. We relive it every time a new member of God’s family is added to the Body of Christ through the sacrament of baptism. And, by virtue of our baptism, we are called to relive it every moment of our lives, as we strive to live into God’s invitation to be fully alive to God in Christ Jesus. We are called to bear witness to our Good Friday world that the Paschal Candle still burns brightly in our midst. We are called to be the Paschal Candle, lighting the way for others to find their way home, to the new life that Christ has freely offered to all.

May you have a blessed Easter season, and a blessed Easter life.

Yours in Christ,

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