May your Easter be filled with the newness of the Resurrection

If we let it, the Bible will always surprise us. As we live through different life situations, we realize it takes a long time before we even begin to understand what Scripture is saying to us. Even the Gospel writers, as they meditated on the meaning of Jesus, came to see a diversity of life-transforming meanings. It seems that Jesus is always new.
Again and again, Jesus is experienced powerfully in the life of Christians and their churches. In a multitude of ways, there is an unexplainable turn in people’s lives – toward hope, forgiveness, and wholeness. Life is made new.
We hear the Biblical story we have heard many times. We hear it, ponder it, question it, talk about it, argue with it, debate about it. But are we ready to be surprised by it?
Easter morning at the tomb starts out just as we would expect. Nothing new there. Suddenly, the tomb is empty, and the risen Lord is walking and talking among us. Jesus slips in and out of the disciples’ perception because God is free and cannot be captured. 
So it is for us. We wake up each day with a preconceived set of expectations about life. Then all of a sudden, Jesus whispers something in your ear. We thought we knew it all. The presence, the words of Jesus are the catalyst that transforms our expected reality into God’s reality. The resurrected Lord awakens our moral imagination. He transforms our values until they are reshaped in the dynamics of the grace of God.
When we are open to the Spirit, the resurrection story changes us. It surprises, shocks, and strengthens us. It may disturb you, infuriate you, heal you, or guide you. But most of all, it will change you. Easter means that the resurrected Lord comes to us. When Jesus comes to us, we come to life.
May your Easter be filled with the newness of the Resurrection,
-The Rev. Dr. Andrew McDonald
P.S.  I am packing boxes of books and getting ready to move on to my next church in Cleveland, Ohio. I will be “with you” in worship one more week after Easter. It has been such a joy to be with House of Hope these past two years. I will say more later, but I am so grateful to God for having been your Transitional Pastor. What a delightful, inspiring congregation!