Saturday, April 04, 2015

This is the night...

This is the night when Wisconsin will try to take down the undefeated behemoth, Kentucky, in the Final Four of the NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament.

This is the night when the world awaits the beginning of a brand new season of Major League Baseball when the Cubs host the Cardinals Sunday night at Wrigley Field. (Wait... Cubs opening NIGHT?... Video boards?... Bleachers under construction?... This-is-the-year kool-aid on sale throughout Cubbie Nation?)

This is the night when followers of Christ remember the moment Jesus rose from being a dead body into new life and recall the moment when they were connected to this resurrected Christ in baptism.

The world moves on while Christians celebrate the Resurrection of Our Lord. It's always been that way and it will continue to always be that way until the Kingdom of God is fully revealed.

It doesn't surprise me at all that the worlds of sports and recreation press ahead with little notice at all of what is being recalled and celebrated. It's happened before. There just is not much money to be made by our culture lifting up and embracing Easter. Thanks be to God! But still... "This is the night!" And yet, so many will go to bed completely ignorant of what God is doing. Why should this be any different from other nights?

Actually, that's the way it was so many years ago as well: Let's estimate it as the year AD 30. No one witnessed the actual event of death becoming life again. No one was awake. No one even expected it, though they were told ahead of time.

Life moved on that night in Jerusalem. Jesus' disciples were in hiding. Jesus' Jewish brothers and sisters had just observed the Sabbath. Politics and war and business continued in the Roman world. There was intrigue and back stabbing and events at the amphitheaters to get ready for. This was the night for the centurion Bricius to fight Cypranus before thousands. Who's Caesar Tiberius going to give thumbs down to?

But while that was all going on... This was the night for Jesus to be resurrected. Emmanuel fully experienced humanity through suffering and death, but then defeats death forever by becoming the first born of the dead. God-With-Us gathers all of us unto himself so that we might be united with both a death and a resurrection like his. This is the night. Did anyone notice?

In this morning's Chicago Tribune there was an ever so brief mention of a rescue at sea. Headline:
"Man lost at sea found healthy"
- A man reported missing at sea two months ago was rescued on the overturned hull of his sailboat off the North Carolina coast, and he walked away from a hospital hours later in good condition, with no obvious sunburn, dehydration or other signs of distress. 
Louis Jordan, 37, said he survived by rationing his water and energy and praying for help.

There you go: news found on page 6 of a very thin Saturday edition of the paper. This is the very same paper with an in depth front page article about a group of students refusing to pay back their student loans because they got a lousy education from the for-profit college they attended and racked up debts of over $100,000... No comment.

The stuff of high drama... of Ernest Hemingway and Tom Hanks and Robert Redford and Gilligan...
gets barely a mention at all. For two months "he survived by rationing his water and energy and praying for help."

The Kingdom of God is at hand and THIS IS THE NIGHT for us to open our eyes and celebrate. Christ is risen! Alleluia! We are united with him through baptism and can live this night and every night with power and hope.

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