5th Sunday in Lent - The Resurrection Experience

We are winding down our celebration of the Holy Season of Lent - our time of preparation for the great feast of Easter. Lent can, and should be a solemn and moving experience for us. It should be a time to recall our Baptism, to renew our commitment to our faith and beliefs, to recognize once again our faults and weaknesses, to seek the Lord's forgiveness - and the forgiveness of others - and to become instruments of reconciliation and forgiveness for others.

Like Lazarus, raised from the dead, Lent gives us the opportunity to be touched once again by the power of the Risen Christ, and to renew the Resurrection Experience that has deeply touched our lives.

If we truly believe that Jesus has been raised from the dead, that he is alive, that he continues to live and work in and through those who believe in him, then we had better not linger too long in the garden, or weep too long at the tomb, or gaze too long at the crucifix. We had better not treat Jesus in our mind, in our prayer or in our attitudes as though he is a dead hero, or an object of theological study. We had better not bury him in history, or just remember his story as a fable or fairy tale.

We had better be certain that our worship is not some mechanical ritual repeated occasionally to keep up the charade of being a "good Christian." For we are not numbered among those who worship a dead Jesus, one who has no influence on people's lives or on their world - one who can no longer challenge or change them.

Like Lazarus, the Resurrection Experience is for us the turning point, the point of no return. Lent allows us to proclaim that we will never go back to the darkness from which He has rescued us. We will never go back to the sins and selfishness which lead only to death. We will never go back to cowardice and weakness in the face of evil. We will never bury ourselves in hopelessness and despair.

Resurrection changed Jesus. For him, it wasn't just coming back to his previous life for a few more years. He came to a totally new kind of living, beyond time and space, and yet fully present through faith to the believers of each succeeding generation.