Happy Easter! I hope you and yours enjoyed a glorious Easter. Your beloved Christ Church buzzed with life. Beginning with Holy Week, each day provided us with an opportunity to worship, pray, fellowship, celebrate, and wait upon the Lord. Sincere thanks to each and every one of you - clergy, staff, and you, our beloved parishioners - who graced all of our nurturing offerings with your presence.
One of my biggest regrets this past Holy Week was that I locked Old Brick before departing for the night of the vigil, thus depriving those who had signed up to keep vigil the opportunity to do so. I sincerely apologize for that.
Having said that, I’d like to add that it was so special seeing all of you on Easter Sunday. There were many parishioners that I haven’t seen in a while because of COVID. In my remarks during the announcements, I said something to the effect that this is how it used to be before COVID. Yes, that was how our beloved Christ Church used to be; the energy during the peace, the joy in seeing each other, the pride of fellowship, and the kindred spirit that was so special to our common life was on full display on Easter Sunday. Oh, how I wish each Sunday was like last Sunday.
But I am keenly aware that each Sunday isn't like Easter Sunday, nor could each Sunday be the same as the previous one. But one thing I do know is that our prayers can be the same. Our prayers for each other, ourselves, and our world can resonate with similar thoughts and yearnings because we all want the best for each other and our world. It is for that reason that we pray for healing for those who are sick, we pray for renewal for those who are bowed down, we pray for comfort for those who are experiencing loss, and we pray in thanksgiving for those who are celebrating milestones.
Although we may not overtly pray that we may be made smarter, we are reminded each Sunday to make haste and to be kind. Kindness is contagious and it goes a long way toward healing our lives and our world.
Well, I have a story for you:
Once a student came to a wise sage and asked, "What else do people lack to make the world better?"
The sage responded, “They lack things that they do not ask about.”
Seeing the perplexity of the student who asked the question, the sage explained: “What do people ask God for? Happiness, wealth, love, even talent – for the sake of success and fame. But did you hear that someone asked to make him smarter or kinder?”
The student thought and shook his head.
“That's it!” the sage said, regretfully. He continued: “Everyone considers himself or herself sufficiently intelligent and kind, willing himself or herself entirely different. And so the world does not become any smarter and kinder.”
Leaving, the student repeated to himself, “Good mind – that‘s what people do not think to ask for that the world would become better.”
After hearing the thoughts of the sage, the student didn’t appear to commit the self to pray to be kind or smart. The thought that it can begin with him didn’t occur to him.
Easter marks for us the season of knowing that the resurrection story can begin with us, that if we want a resurrected world, a world which honors your dignity and mine, we can pray that we are smarter and kind.
Easter marks for us the season of believing that as deep as our regrets may be, we stand an even greater chance of doing better because we believe in redemption. More than that, we do believe that if we are smart enough, we would realize that kindness is contagious and it can change my world, your world, and our world - all for the better.
If you ask me, I’d say that this explains why Easter is such an important and life-giving story.