Rev. Charlsi Lewis Lee
Some days I don’t feel so good about other people. There are days when I rehearse the mean things, or the stupid things, or the ridiculous things that people have said or done to me and as a result, I just feel blecky—for those who don’t speak the language of Charlsi, that’s a combo between yucky and bleh. I recognize that when I stew on all of the errors and the mistakes that others make, then it is becomes much easier to ignore my own stuff. Sunday was a reminder of that for me.
Yep. I confess that on Easter Sunday I had less than magnanimous thoughts about someone. I was judgmental and irritated. I even ranted about it a little bit. And you know what happened? Nothing. Not one thing. No one’s life was altered by my indignation but my own. I was the only one who felt the wrath of Charlsi and I didn’t feel very good about it. And then, something amazing happened. Something beyond what I could control. Something more powerful than even, well, me. What was it you are undoubtedly wondering? The Resurrection.
I know, it sounds simple. It is simple. There I was all in a tizzy before worship, stressing about something ridiculous when worship started and I was reminded that it was Easter morning. I sat down in the pew and lost myself in the story of life, death and resurrection. I washed myself in the newness of life that only comes in the presence of God. I remembered the graciousness of the one who breathes us all into being and the joy of the one who washes our ugliness away.
And it wasn’t the magnificent wording of the Call to Worship, or the fabulous Iona music, or the experience of storytelling; instead, it was all of that. It was the experience of singing and praying and celebrating an unbelievable story that only my faith can explain. Sometimes I feel like Mary Magdalene running to tell Jesus’s friends about the resurrection: I’ve got amazing news. But who will believe m?
Even writing this I think, so what? So, I was grumpy and judgmental on Easter Sunday morning. Who cares? And maybe no one does except me. I care because I was reminded that I am human. Human, human, human. Even on the holy of holies Easter Sunday, I was human. And as a human I mess up, and get petty, and arrogant and then I walk into Easter Sunday worship and I experience the resurrection. I hear songs and prayers that bring about amazing changes. I tell stories about new hope and new faith. I experience the very presence of God.
I get freaking excited about this stuff because I am changed. I know, isn’t it great? I am changed by the act of worship. I am changed by engaging with others on Easter morning. I am changed by telling the story of resurrection because I know what it can do to a life. I have witnessed life restored, life renewed, life resurrected from the tombs. I have witness not just my life restored, but individuals who have known the dark, dank experience of being entombed by sorrow, grief, addiction, pain, loss, heartache, anger, desperation and even, just plain ole pettiness.
I have witnessed lives changed in huge, earth shattering, temple shaking ways. I have witnessed lives changed in small, little, what may at first seem to be inconsequential ways. I have witnessed big resurrections and little resurrections—all of them have changed lives. All of them renew my hope in a grace that is bigger than I am and a love that bigger than all of us.
That’s what happened to me on Easter Sunday. I went feeling from blecky and less than, well, Christian to restored, reminded, renewed. I can’t wait to see what Pentecost brings.