Looking At The World With Easter Eyes

By Ken Woodley

The 7th Sunday of Easter is coming and I am very glad for that.

After what felt like 12 straight months of Ash Wednesdays because of COVID-19, I’m not ready to let go of Easter.

And I don’t want Easter to let go of me.
Or let go of you.

Not today.
Not tomorrow.
Not next week or next month.
Not ever.

I want Easter and me to keep on hugging each other.

I want Easter and you to cling to your embrace.

I want to feel all of our fingers intertwined with Easter.

I want to keep falling in love with Easter and I want Easter to never stop falling in love with me.

I want to say “I do” to Easter and I want Easter to say “I do” to me.

I want Easter to live with me in my house, ride with me in my car, and stand in line with me at the grocery store.

I want Easter to say good morning when the sunrises and goodnight before I turn off the light and fall asleep.

I want to dream beside Easter all night long and I want Easter to dream beside me through all of the darkness.

Not just the darkness of night but all of the darkness in the world around me even after the sun rises.

And I want Easter to live with you, give hay to the cows and pick flowers in the garden with you, turn the same pages in the same books with you.

I want Easter to tell you which mask matches your dress before you walk out of the door and I want Easter to dream by your side every night through all of night’s darkness and then through all of darkness in the world that the sun cannot shine away.

The fact of the matter is, however, that the Easter season is about to end, as far as the liturgical calendar is concerned. This seventh Sunday of Easter is the last Sunday in the church’s Easter season.

But only on the liturgical calendar.

Because on my calendar I have to keep hanging on to Easter because, really, it’s my only chance of making sure the crucifixion doesn’t turn around and come back and hang on to me, turning Good Friday into Good Mondays and Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

No, none of us can go back in time and keep re-living Easter morning over and over like Bill Murray in some Holy version of the movie Groundhog’s Day.

But we can try to bring Easter morning into the present and carry Easter morning forward with us into the future.

We can try to have Easter Sundays all year long.

And Easter Mondays, Easter Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, too.

Rather than a week full of Good Fridays.

Light and love rose on Easter and we don’t have to let go of that.

Easter is the day that pulls out all the nails and removes the crown of thorns.

We don’t have to wave good-bye to that.

Darkness and hate won’t ever give up so I want to cling as long as I can to the light and love of Easter.

But I have lived with myself my whole life and I know that, in my own case, that is far easier said than done.

If Easter were a vaccine, there are some days when I’d need a booster shot every hour.

Sometimes the tiny crucifixions that come into all of our lives, past and present, get the best of me.

The world is a master at throwing its weight around and knocking us down.

Looking around the world it can be pretty easy to see all of its hammers and nails.

After all, the world has kept so many of us from sharing our own church sanctuary, temple, synagogue or mosque as a congregation together for more than a year.

So sometimes the meaning of the empty cross seems lost to me. I look at it sometimes and only think of the crucifixion. But the empty cross carries the most powerful message of all and it is not a message of crucifixion.

My wife, Kim, has rubbed off on me in many good ways and one of them is encouraging me to keep a journal, which I have been doing for over a decade now. Mostly, it’s a spiritual diary.

I was re-reading one of them recently from nearly a decade ago and found I had written down a key phrase from an Easter sermon delivered by the Rev. Glenn Busch.

Look at the world, he urged us, with Easter eyes. I wrote down just that one phrase in my journal. That one phrase is enough.

Looking at the world with Easter eyes is a discipline that I am going to try and embrace.

Looking at the cross and seeing, and feeling, resurrection instead of crucifixion.

Looking at the world, looking at every one of its nooks and crannies, and seeing and feeling resurrection, not crucifixion.

Looking at the mundane until I am able to see the miraculous.

Looking at things I’ve stopped paying attention to because they are around me every day and I take them for granted, looking at them until I see them through Easter eyes.

Looking at one fallen leaf, brown and years old, perhaps, or a leaf from this spring blown from its tree by a storm, looking at a leaf that is bent and broken on the ground, trampled underfoot, and see how that one leaf is lifted up by a sudden breeze.

See that one ordinary leaf raised up by a wind none of us can see and think to myself, Hey, that’s me. I am that leaf and God is the wind that lifts me, raises me up—raises all of us up—on Easter Sunday 365 days a year.

The calendar doesn’t matter. It never has and never could. Easter cannot be contained or limited to any one single season.

I should have realized that.

So next Sunday on the liturgical calendar is Pentecost. The Holy Spirit’s going to come. Hurray! Bring it on!

No, wait a minute, I’m wrong there, too.

The Holy Spirit’s flight has already arrived.

The Holy Spirit is in here. The Holy Spirit out there. No one day, no crucifixion large or small, can hold it in and none can hold it back.

So I want to look at all of the world’s crosses with Easter eyes and see all of them empty except for a note that reads: “I have gone on ahead, blazing a trail for all eternity, look for the signs in everything that you see.”

And the note is signed: “Jesus.”

We can see blaze marks of that trail when we look at the world with Easter eyes.

The signs are everywhere.

We can even look at litter by the side of the road with Easter eyes and understand that even that one discarded hamburger wrapper fluttering across the road allows us to do the impossible.

That piece of trash allows us to see God’s breath in the wind.

A wind that is filled with Easter.

Easter in every breeze.

Every moment of every day.

Even when the air is as still as a brick wall too high for us to climb over, Easter, with its always and ever-blooming message, has already found us.

So even on those inevitable days when I let go of Easter, despite these bold statements of mine and my best intentions, I can be absolutely certain of one thing:

Easter will never let go of me.

And for a promise like that, a simple Hallelujah just won’t do. When I was a kid, the Walt Disney movie Mary Poppins taught me a word. I’m going to use it now:

Halle—supercalifragilisticexpealliedotious—lujah!

By Ken Woodley

The 7th Sunday of Easter is coming and I am very glad for that.

After what felt like 12 straight months of Ash Wednesdays because of COVID-19, I’m not ready to let go of Easter.

And I don’t want Easter to let go of me.
Or let go of you.

Not today.
Not tomorrow.
Not next week or next month.
Not ever.

I want Easter and me to keep on hugging each other.

I want Easter and you to cling to your embrace.

I want to feel all of our fingers intertwined with Easter.

I want to keep falling in love with Easter and I want Easter to never stop falling in love with me.

I want to say “I do” to Easter and I want Easter to say “I do” to me.

I want Easter to live with me in my house, ride with me in my car, and stand in line with me at the grocery store.

I want Easter to say good morning when the sunrises and goodnight before I turn off the light and fall asleep.

I want to dream beside Easter all night long and I want Easter to dream beside me through all of the darkness.

Not just the darkness of night but all of the darkness in the world around me even after the sun rises.

And I want Easter to live with you, give hay to the cows and pick flowers in the garden with you, turn the same pages in the same books with you.

I want Easter to tell you which mask matches your dress before you walk out of the door and I want Easter to dream by your side every night through all of night’s darkness and then through all of darkness in the world that the sun cannot shine away.

The fact of the matter is, however, that the Easter season is about to end, as far as the liturgical calendar is concerned. This seventh Sunday of Easter is the last Sunday in the church’s Easter season.

But only on the liturgical calendar.

Because on my calendar I have to keep hanging on to Easter because, really, it’s my only chance of making sure the crucifixion doesn’t turn around and come back and hang on to me, turning Good Friday into Good Mondays and Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

No, none of us can go back in time and keep re-living Easter morning over and over like Bill Murray in some Holy version of the movie Groundhog’s Day.

But we can try to bring Easter morning into the present and carry Easter morning forward with us into the future.

We can try to have Easter Sundays all year long.

And Easter Mondays, Easter Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays, too.

Rather than a week full of Good Fridays.

Light and love rose on Easter and we don’t have to let go of that.

Easter is the day that pulls out all the nails and removes the crown of thorns.

We don’t have to wave good-bye to that.

Darkness and hate won’t ever give up so I want to cling as long as I can to the light and love of Easter.

But I have lived with myself my whole life and I know that, in my own case, that is far easier said than done.

If Easter were a vaccine, there are some days when I’d need a booster shot every hour.

Sometimes the tiny crucifixions that come into all of our lives, past and present, get the best of me.

The world is a master at throwing its weight around and knocking us down.

Looking around the world it can be pretty easy to see all of its hammers and nails.

After all, the world has kept so many of us from sharing our own church sanctuary, temple, synagogue or mosque as a congregation together for more than a year.

So sometimes the meaning of the empty cross seems lost to me. I look at it sometimes and only think of the crucifixion. But the empty cross carries the most powerful message of all and it is not a message of crucifixion.

My wife, Kim, has rubbed off on me in many good ways and one of them is encouraging me to keep a journal, which I have been doing for over a decade now. Mostly, it’s a spiritual diary.

I was re-reading one of them recently from nearly a decade ago and found I had written down a key phrase from an Easter sermon delivered by the Rev. Glenn Busch.

Look at the world, he urged us, with Easter eyes. I wrote down just that one phrase in my journal. That one phrase is enough.

Looking at the world with Easter eyes is a discipline that I am going to try and embrace.

Looking at the cross and seeing, and feeling, resurrection instead of crucifixion.

Looking at the world, looking at every one of its nooks and crannies, and seeing and feeling resurrection, not crucifixion.

Looking at the mundane until I am able to see the miraculous.

Looking at things I’ve stopped paying attention to because they are around me every day and I take them for granted, looking at them until I see them through Easter eyes.

Looking at one fallen leaf, brown and years old, perhaps, or a leaf from this spring blown from its tree by a storm, looking at a leaf that is bent and broken on the ground, trampled underfoot, and see how that one leaf is lifted up by a sudden breeze.

See that one ordinary leaf raised up by a wind none of us can see and think to myself, Hey, that’s me. I am that leaf and God is the wind that lifts me, raises me up—raises all of us up—on Easter Sunday 365 days a year.

The calendar doesn’t matter. It never has and never could. Easter cannot be contained or limited to any one single season.

I should have realized that.

So next Sunday on the liturgical calendar is Pentecost. The Holy Spirit’s going to come. Hurray! Bring it on!

No, wait a minute, I’m wrong there, too.

The Holy Spirit’s flight has already arrived.

The Holy Spirit is in here. The Holy Spirit out there. No one day, no crucifixion large or small, can hold it in and none can hold it back.

So I want to look at all of the world’s crosses with Easter eyes and see all of them empty except for a note that reads: “I have gone on ahead, blazing a trail for all eternity, look for the signs in everything that you see.”

And the note is signed: “Jesus.”

We can see blaze marks of that trail when we look at the world with Easter eyes.

The signs are everywhere.

We can even look at litter by the side of the road with Easter eyes and understand that even that one discarded hamburger wrapper fluttering across the road allows us to do the impossible.

That piece of trash allows us to see God’s breath in the wind.

A wind that is filled with Easter.

Easter in every breeze.

Every moment of every day.

Even when the air is as still as a brick wall too high for us to climb over, Easter, with its always and ever-blooming message, has already found us.

So even on those inevitable days when I let go of Easter, despite these bold statements of mine and my best intentions, I can be absolutely certain of one thing:

Easter will never let go of me.

And for a promise like that, a simple Hallelujah just won’t do. When I was a kid, the Walt Disney movie Mary Poppins taught me a word. I’m going to use it now:

Halle—supercalifragilisticexpealliedotious—lujah!








2 thoughts on “Looking At The World With Easter Eyes

  1. Thank you for your message. Yes indeed, we look at the world with Easter eyes and embrace the Spirit who has already come.

    Like

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