An Easter Message

When I was Consecrated Bishop Suffragan in 2008 I received a painting as a gift. This painting was a reproduction of the “Road to Emmaus” by Conrad Heinrich Bloch, the19th century Danish artist and is one segment of the series Bloch painted on the life of Christ. It hangs above our fireplace in our home and I often pray the morning Office before it to remind me of the truth of the presence of Christ wherever I am. It also serves as a reminder of the great message of Easter and the Resurrection to eternal life promised to all who believe in him.

It also serves as a reminder to me of how easy it is for one to get so overwhelmed in the things of this world that we do not recognize the presence of Christ among us. The disciples on the road to Emmaus were so caught up in their own conversation, their own rehearsal of what they had witnessed earlier that day they were unable to experience the presence of the Risen Lord Jesus in their midst. They knew the story, they heard the witness of those who went to the tomb only to find it empty yet they did not believe in the resurrection.

As I have said in many sermons, we can know the story but until we acknowledge and believe in the Resurrection of Jesus Christ we will simply continue to wander up the roads of our life with no purpose. It was only when Jesus made himself known to the disciples in the breaking of bread that they “got it!” It completely transformed their lives changing from mere bystanders to active participants in the proclamation of the greatest news known to humanity. It was the experience of the Risen Lord Jesus that completely and unalterably changed their lives.

And so it is for each of us, we too can be transformed by the Risen Lord. Let us not get so caught up in our own lives that we cannot experience the Risen Lord. Let us see this Easter as an opportunity to experience new life, new hope. Let our “hearts burn within us” and experience love and presence of Jesus Christ, the Risen Lord!

 

Posted by Bishop Paul Lambert with

"Pushing" Into the World: A Lenten Reflection

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Last week I had a meeting with one of our deacons aspiring to become an ordained a priest this May. We talked about the service and all of its components such as who the preacher would be and other essentials for such an occasion. After this discussion we migrated to a conversation regarding the deacon’s former vocation as an F-16 pilot, and a trainer of pilots – a job she left behind to begin the ordination process.

During our chat the topic of “g-force” came up, one that I know very little about. Other than the scene from the movie, “Spies Like Us,” I had really never understood much about such phenomena until she explained it. From what I now understand the g-force has to do with the vector acceleration against the force of gravity. This acceleration can cause all sorts of interesting things to happen to the human body one of which is stopping the heart. This obviously reduces the flow of blood to the rest of the body. Lack of blood flow to the brain causes a black out! That’s where trouble begins as you can well imagine.

Now what does this have to do with Lent? Well it turns out that the way you prevent the heart from stopping is to push against the g-force. The act of pushing against this force causes the heart to pump thereby causing the blood to flow freely and allowing the individual to function normally. However, it is completely counterintuitive to push against the force. Our natural reaction is to succumb to such force, which leads to our own peril.

So it is with sin and temptation. Our natural tendency is to yield to the temptation of the world, the flesh, and the devil, and in doing so we are led to act in sin. We can see this truth realized in countless acts of violence plaguing our world today, addictive behavior of all sorts, and other insidious actions in our day-to-day lives. Instead of pushing against these forces we submit and our lives are adversely affected.

Lent affords us the opportunity to push against these temptations to overcome those things that separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus. Through corporate fasting and prayer, performing good deeds, caring for those marginalized by our society, and intentionally living the lives God calls us to live, indeed wills us to live, we can push against those things and experience life more abundantly.

Just as pushing against the g-force is a learned response, so is pushing against the world, the flesh, and the devil. We must be intentional about living lives that are “holy and acceptable to God!” Choose this Lent to be your time to lean into God’s grace and love and push against those things in your world that separate you from him.

Posted by Bishop Paul Lambert with

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