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  • The Rev. Charles Smith

Where is Easter Jesus NOW?

Where do you find the Jesus of Easter?

You know—the risen Lord who lives forever and defeated Satan and restored us to Friendship God? Yeah where is that Jesus?

I suppose we have become a little like Jesus’ disciples-looking in all the wrong places for

that resurrected Jesus. First they run to an empty tomb and stand there all slack jawed like the Vincent

Van Gogh portrait of the scream. Then they lock themselves in a room—I imagine a really nice room that you could hold church in, looking for Jesus. Doubting Thomas, who ought to just be called like everyone else Thomas wants to see proof-- he wants to touch the hole in Jesus' side and see the nail marks from the cross.

These followers of Jesus these disciples are running around looking for the risen Lord Jesus in all the wrong places. They are looking in empty tombs and empty rooms hoping to find the risen Lord Jesus. But the risen Jesus is not sitting in empty rooms—even in really nice empty rooms—or in empty tombs. The risen Lord Jesus is out amongst the living!

We have become a little like, maybe a lot, like these disciples as we look for the risen Lord in all the same old places disappointed to find that he is not hanging out in an empty Church building waiting for

people who are in quarantine to somehow magically break the quarantine and appear. I don’t know how many friends have posted pictures of empty rooms looking for the risen Lord Jesus and being disappointed he is not there.

We allow fear to steal our joy and then start looking for the risen Lord Jesus in the empty rooms and empty tombs of life. But Jesus is not there. He has arisen.

I get it. Well I sort of get it. There is a lot of angst, worry, disappointment, fear, grumpiness or whatever you went to call it right now. This grumpiness that we are all experiencing has a technical term, "grief.”

Grief causes all of those feelings. Anger, angst, worry, disappointment, fear, and grumpiness. Yeah, all those are a part of grief. People are used to grief when Someone we love dies or when a pet does. But for most of us we are not actively mourning the death of someone right now but all these feelings keep coming anyways.

These feelings, this grief, keeps coming because what we are experiencing is a sort of death. What we have come to know, to cherish, to expect is gone right now and at least for some of those things there are real questions about whether they will ever be the same again. Some of them will not ever be the same again. Though what we are experiencing is not a death per se it is like a death.

We miss the comforts and rhythms of our old lives. We miss the reliability of our old lives. We miss being around people he care about. We miss smiles and hugs and handshakes. We even mess going to the same buildings that we are used to and have meant something to us. Who would have ever thought

you could miss a cubicle?

We are grieving what was.

I spend a lot of my time around deciding churchy people and even the churchiest among us are feeling this grief. Even the churchiest among us are struggling to find where the risen Lord Jesus of Easter who overcomes death and the grave is. This is not some great moral failing on your part of theirs. This is what grieving what once was is like. We churchy people are struggling with finding the risen Lord Jesus because we keep looking for the risen Jesus in all the wrong places. We post and share photos of empty darkened churches pining away for the way things used to be. We dress the buildings up and take pictures to say see everything is ok now crisis averted back to you normally scheduled programming. We complain that things are not how they used to be and are not as good as they used to be.

We go on and on about how we can not be bothered to use this new­fangled internet machine. It is a fad you just wait and See. We complain that things are not being done in the church buildings or in the work buildings or in the way we are accustomed to having them done. I mean who can even pray or work from home God forbid it outside?

And so even the churchiest of people are looking for the risen Lord Jesus in all the wrong sorts of places.

We Search in empty rooms or empty tombs. We pretend like things have not been fundamentally been transformed. But the Lord Jesus is not here. He has arisen. Just like he told as he would.

Jesus is not locked away in an empty room or empty tomb. He is arisen. Jesus is amongst the living. This is the thing that we must learn just as Jesus’ disciples had to. Jesus is arisen and this changes everything. Jesus is arisen and has destroyed the devil and death. We just have to look for him now where we are living.

It is fine to spend some time in grief. Good Friday and Holy Saturday always have to come before Easter. But Good Friday and Holy Saturday are not the end of the story because Easter has come and Jesus is risen.

Where have you found the risen Lord Jesus?

Be sure to let me know in the comments where you are looking for him.

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