This is the message of the Resurrection: life cannot be conquered-- not by death, not by sin, not by the powers of darkness. Life happens--fully, intensely, and eternally. Indeed, Jesus tells us this morning: "I came that they may have life, and have it abundantly." The Resurrection of Jesus Christ ripples out to touch every life, everywhere, for all time. The wonder of Easter morning shows us the utter lengths that God goes to offer us abundant life.
Yet, while life cannot be conquered, life can be delayed, put on hold, made dormant. When we retreat to the safety and comfort of our own personal worlds –wherever they may be--we refuse to participate in the fullness of a life lived in God. Of course, existing is easier, less demanding. However, existence is not life. Ease does not bring joy. In addition, less demanding often means less fulfilling.
The ten-day visit to my father came and went and it was time to go home. We hugged and kissed good-by and promised to stay in touch. As I drove out of sight, I suddenly realized that I probably would not see him again. Two weeks later Joyce greeted me at the door when I came home from work with tears in her eyes. He had passed suddenly and my stepmother wanted me to do the Eulogy at the memorial Service. I figured erroneously, as it turned out, that it would be a small intimate service. When we walked into the service and discovered there was about 300 people there, I started stuttering and shaking “Lord help me! I do not think I can do this, “The funeral director introduced me and I started.
The first laugh startled me and I started stuttering. I realized what was happening, it made me relax, and I ended up talking for about 20 minutes. When I finished there was a pair of hands on both of my shoulders as I stood at the podium. No one but I was standing at the podium. I heard in stereo from above and behind me. “I am well pleased with you my son!”
We cannot import into our lives the abundant life that Christ offers us because the very fullness of that life cannot fit inside a safe, comfortable enclosure. Christ drives us out of the existence that we have established so that our lives have the opportunity to expand, that we may embrace God's unrestrained abundance. During this season of Easter, join God in the expansive life found in the Resurrection. Listen for the voice of the shepherd calling you by name, calling you out of complacency. In addition, give Christ the chance to cast you out of your hidey-hole so that you may find the fullness of a life lived in the abundance of God.