Entries by Jeff MacKnight

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Stories of Resurrection- The Third Week of Easter

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“We die daily.  Happy those who daily come to life as well.”

George MacDonald


Some monks in olden days slept at night in coffin-like cots, in recognition that sleep is deathlike experience, and waking every morning is a little resurrection!

During the 50 days of Easter Season, we are focusing on resurrection stories – human experiences large and small which bring new life and light and hope into our lives, after we have suffered pain, loss, or disillusionment.  If we have eyes to see, we’ll realize that God’s fingerprints are on these experiences of renewal.  We’ll begin to see our stories in the light of Jesus’ story. 

In adult formation last Sunday, we began to explore this theme in the beloved movie – The Sound of Music.  Think about Maria, the nuns, the children, Captain Von Trapp, even Liesl’s young Nazi boyfriend.  Nearly everybody in that story experiences loss and renewal and transformation.  Most of the characters emerge as more fully human – more alive and able to love than they started.  That’s why it’s such a great story! 

So what is your resurrection story?  Have you experienced the death of a relationship, and then discovered new life on the other side?  Have you lost someone you love, and found the strength to enjoy life again?  Have you been badly hurt by someone, and found the grace to forgive?  Or are you in a place where Easter hasn’t arrived, and all you can do is wait and hope? 

At the men’s group, we shared our experiences of Holy Week and Easter: the descent into the depths of loss and emptiness, and the miraculous rebirth of life and hope that follows, by the grace of God.  Don Baker, who leads the group, asked us to ponder where in our lives we are in need of resurrection, of rising from the dead. 

Finding the language we need to tell these stories is a challenge, but when we do share them, we are all enriched and inspired in our Christian journeys.  We’ll have two guests sharing resurrection stories with us on Sundays – Patricia Lyons of St. Stephen and St. Agnes School in Alexandria, and retired rector of St. John’s Norwood, Susan Flanders.  I hope you’ll come and find new life yourself.  JBM




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Why are you in church on Easter Sunday?  Come, Look, See.

Maybe you worship most Sundays, or maybe you haven’t been in church in quite a while.  Either way, Easter invites us to come…to sing the joyful hymns, to see the flowers decking the church, to remind ourselves of all that is good and joyful in this life.  There is something in the human soul that longs to celebrate life itself, and thank God for this most precious gift. 

This year Easter is so early that Mother Nature hasn’t yet put on her new spring dress.  Holy Week brought a surprise snowfall and nippy temperatures.  Still, we are so ready: ready for spring, for warmth, for blossoming azaleas and cherry trees; ready to get outside again and enjoy this beautiful part of the world in which we live; ready to do some emotional housecleaning and let go of wintry thoughts and feelings.  What are the old grudges, irritations, and losses you need to let go of and forgive? 

At Easter, God leads the way in this kind of housecleaning.  In a sense, God gathers up all the sin and evil in the world and buries it with Christ in the tomb.  Then on Easter morning Christ rises to new life – leaving behind the forgiven sins of humanity and offering all of us a fresh start, another chance to live as we long to live, “in love and charity with our neighbors, intending to lead a new life” walking in the holy ways of Jesus. 

Can we do it?  Easter says yes…with God as our helper.  Apart from God we can do nothing.  But with God, all things are possible.  My life, and your life, can be renewed.  As the angel at the tomb put it: “Do not be afraid… Look! He is not here; he has been raised.”  If Christ is risen, and we dwell in Christ, then we are risen too. 

I wish you “every good gift” of joy and light and life that God offers this Easter.  JBM


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