This isn’t a feel-good post but a puzzling one…. Read on if you wish!
August 1971 – I was on a mountain top in Switzerland when I first knew that Jesus was more than a storybook figure. I knew in my heart that the scripture stories about him were true and that he was still alive. What happened in August 1971 was literally was a ‘mountain-top’ experience and I’ve never been the same since. A door opened for me, and I entered into the reality that a spiritual world that exists, at times parallel to this universe and at other times entwined within the daily heartbeats. Jesus is real and alive, sometimes given many different names, but the same energy that inhabited the man Jesus, still lives today.
After my mountain-top experience I returned to my home in Toronto and began to attend church. I’d attended as a child but had left in my teens for, as many of us experience, I didn’t find answers for my questions or the room to ask them. I returned now with different eyes and a quivering, yet grounded heart. Years passed, many Sundays, many small groups, many Easters. What I found was that many of the faith communities questioned the reality of Jesus and the reality of his resurrection. Easter was celebrated, but not believed. We attended many evangelical churches yet only a few people I met had actually encountered the Living Jesus. Most had heard about him, often wanted more of him, but had not looked him in the eye, not been humbled by him, not received his loving kindness. Doubts often seemed to plague their faith. They could quote scripture, but something was missing. For many years it puzzled me. It seemed we had made room in our churches for questions – yeah to that, but not room for transformational life.
One of the most joyful Easter celebrations I’ve known was within the Self-Realization Fellowship community, for they accepted the resurrection of Jesus. They knew he was alive, their teacher, friend and advocate. The air wasn’t cluttered with doubts, fears or confusion of beliefs. The air was clear, filled with trust and spiritual knowing. It held the desire for radical change. I was back on the mountain-top.
I’ve wondered during my church years why we spent so much energy going through Lent with study groups, sermon series and special services, yet so little time lingering in the fifty days of Easter. We hold Easter services yet don’t hold study groups for the next fifty days to ground us in the remarkable transformation that is ours as we encounter the Living Christ. And why, after Pentecost do we enter ‘Ordinary’ time in church liturgy? Why isn’t Easter the ‘Ordinary’ time? Why do we return to scraping through life rather than continue the celebration of transformation of everyday life by gracing it with an acknowledgement of ‘Transformation Time’?
I puzzle about this. I think I’ve shared my angst before and been delighted by stories some of you have shared about faith communities that honor the days of Easter. Yet I continue to puzzle about churches with people who don’t know the Living Christ. I puzzle about the spiritual awakening we need on earth. How will it happen? When will it happen? How can I be apart of bringing Easter to everyone, everywhere, everyday. Easter Everyday. Everyday Easter. Oh, to live in Transformation Time.
That’s Anne’s pondering over Easter weekend. What have you been pondering? How do you encounter Easter?
Love and prayers
Mystic in Motion
Companion on the Way with Contemplative Fire
Companion on the Rivendell Way
Society Member of Shalem Institute for Contemplative Living