Easter thus means “Jesus is Lord.”
The phrase has depths of meaning not always seen in a tradition
in which the affirmation has become a commonplace.
Jesus is Lord. Rome is not. The domination system is not.
— Marcus Borg (The Meaning of Jesus)
I grew up in Bancroft, Ontario, Canada. It’s a beautiful town, surrounded by lakes, rivers, and forests (thus my love for nature). If you towards the north end of town on highway #62, you will drive along a stretch of land between Eagles’ Nest cliff, and the York River.
Eagles’ Nest is a stunning place. You can see for miles from the top of it. Since I left town, they built a Tim Horton’s at the base of it. During the winter, you can sip your coffee while watching climbers scale the ice that clings to the side of the cliff.
When I visit Bancroft now, I really appreciate its beauty. But while I was growing up, it was nothing too special. In fact, we would hike up the snowmobile tracks that covered the road to the top and toboggan down the hill without pausing to look out at the panorama below.
We have a cliché for this: familiarity breeds contempt.
. . .
It’s easy to develop that same familiarity with religious experiences. Whether it’s the goosebumps that come through charismatic-style praise or the awesome sense of holiness that envelops the liturgical tradition: if it’s repeated it can become commonplace.
And commonplace, of course, is precisely the opposite of holy.
True religious experience—contact with the holy and completely ‘other’ living God—can never become commonplace or be taken for granted. Look at Ezekiel. He has spent the bulk of his life in a revelatory relationship with God. He has witnessed what God wanted him to witness. He has spoken what God asked him to speak. But still, when God’s presence appeared, he fell on his face again:
I looked and lo! the glory of the LORD filled the temple of the LORD; and I fell on my face. (v. 4, NRSV)
Then God spoke again.
. . .
Do you ever wonder why you don’t always hear God’s voice, as clearly as you want to? Could it be that all of our methods of praising God have left us bereft of the one we’re trying to find? Have we lost that essential sense of holiness in our pursuit of personal salvation? Do we need to be humbled by the Maker of the Universe one more time before we can hear his voice?
. . .
Maker and Master of the Universe, remind me of my mortality again by your immortal presence and unstop my distracted ears to hear your call. In Jesus’ name, Amen.