This morning as I clicked on my usual first source for inspiration, the US Catholic Bishops’ listing of lectionary readings for the day, I read April 24, 2018 – Tuesday of the Fourth Week of Easter. I needed to go no further with that as a prompt. I thought of how quickly this year seems to be passing and was grateful that the daffodils have finally bloomed along the side of our house. It’s impossible to go by them without smiling; their bright yellow faces sing “Hello!” with such enthusiasm. At the same time I wondered how conscious I am each day of still celebrating the Easter feast. The readings from the Acts of the Apostles help, of course, as they are full of the vibrant stories of the first disciples and the remarkable happenings as they traveled around spreading the good news of Jesus. Today, in chapter 11, there is word of Barnabas, “a good man, filled with the Spirit and faith,” who was sent to Antioch where “a large number of people was added to the Lord.” As sort of a postscript to all the recounting there, the text ends with the monumental statement that “it was in Antioch that the disciples were first called Christians.”
All of that brought me to a place of gratitude for tradition and the richness of faith. I saw it clearly yesterday in a glorious ritual of passage, the funeral of a 92-year-old mother of a very musical family. There was a choir that enhanced the rich congregational singing, a eulogy at the beginning that brought us all into this wonderful lady’s life and a beautiful reflection at the end by two sons and two granddaughters on French horns, guitar and double base. It was truly a celebration of life from beginning to end and emphasizes for me that Easter continues to this day and beyond.
Joyce Rupp says it best for me as she prays: Risen Christ, we turn to you with full reliance on your resurrected presence here and now. We renew our trust in your grace to restore our joy when it lies hidden in our entombed self. Turn us again and again toward hope. Open our hearts to recognize you in the garden of our everyday lives. Amen. (Prayer Seeds, p.77)