As Easter morning nears in 2019, many hearts feel a lightening and a sense of relief and permission to rejoice. What a hope we have to hold to, in times like these.
Only the briefest of homilies seems to be in order. I am principally struck this weekend, in terms of the parade of world events, by the torrent of judgment being loosed on Donald Trump after the Mueller Report made it clear there was never any crime to begin with.
I’m not going to name names. Those pronouncing the judgment know who they are. Two thoughts came to me in the last 24 hours. One, this is what Jesus was talking about when he said, “Judge not, lest ye be judged.”
Two, this reminds me of nothing so much as Jesus’s story of the self-righteous religious leader and the “publican,” or tax collector. There were truly righteous religious leaders mentioned in the Gospels too; Jesus never alleged that they were all self-righteous and given to sanctimony. But he said of this one that the man pointed at the tax collector and rejoiced that he was not like that sinner over there.
Trump is the “sinner over there”: the tax collector. So are we all. That’s who Jesus came for.
Easter morning is the assurance we have that all our hours and days and years as “the sinner over there” are redeemed.
I don’t think the pattern of Trump being upheld – with a table set before him in the presence of his enemies – is going to be broken. Condemnation has always been God’s business, not ours. And Jesus came to lift it off of us.
Remember what Jesus said to the woman caught in adultery. He didn’t say, “You are not guilty.” He said, “Neither do I condemn you.”
He followed that with “Go and sin no more.” He did not say first, “Go sin no more for a while, and then come back and see me about a probation arrangement.” He told the woman she was not under condemnation before she exhibited a pattern of righteousness.
Just something to think about. How do we know grace is really grace, unless we see it have its powerful effect on behalf of those who need it?
Trump couldn’t be condemned for a sin he didn’t commit because of any sin he has committed. If I could urge one thing on Americans, it would be to learn from that who God is. What He gives us in the risen Christ is far too big and powerful to be eaten away by the carping judgment of men. If we see with open eyes, we will see that it is big enough to redeem our future.
A few musical selections for this year’s Easter greetings. One is the most marvelous thing I have seen or heard for a very long time. It’s a video of Christians in El Salvador commemorating Passover as part of their Easter celebration, singing a “Dayeinu” whose tune I have never heard before.
There’s no describing it. You just have to watch, and be amazed.
The next is a zesty and perhaps imperfection-prone rendition of “I Know that My Redeemer Liveth” from Handel’s Messiah. It’s a perennial favorite for Easter, for obvious reasons, although the words are actually those of Job, the much-tried ancient patriarch.
I like this version because of all the little vignettes of sheer humanity. Be sure to watch for the choristers behind the soprano to (a) yawn and (b) scratch a nose, starting at about the 1:20 mark. It’s a reminder that the “sinner over there” makes a joyful noise all the time – and in fact is usually the one doing it.
In the spirit of ancients-involved Easter worship, I love this rendition of Mendelssohn’s “If with All Your Hearts” (Ye Truly Seek Me), from Elijah. I think you will too.
And no Easter commemoration is complete without a classic Easter hymn, in the classic setting of so many American lives.
Welcome happy morning. A blessed and Happy Easter to LU Nation from Liberty Unyielding.