I have known many Easter People.
I knew an Easter Person named Joyce Lusk who painted beautiful pictures of green, growing trees. And who gave her work to people she loved . . . who fed strangers - who said whatever was on her mind!
Every single morning I wake up and look at two of her paintings as the sunlight falls across them and I think, "I hope I can create like that - as if today is the only day I've ever lived." Because that is how she created beauty as an Easter Person. I do believe that she saw Jesus here in the living world - the normal working world of people.
My mother is an Easter Person. We were at the grocery store several days ago - one of those fancy grocery stores. She was buying food to make me a fancy dinner (because some moms do that when they visit their pregnant daughters). She reached for a loaf of bread and I said, "We've already got a loaf of bread at the house, Mom." She said, "This is my favorite kind, though. You'll like it." And she put it in the basket.
We got into the car and a slender woman approached my window.
She needed money, but neither of us had any cash.
"Would you like a loaf of bread?"
She said that she would very much like a loaf of bread. We gave it to her.
As we pulled away I said to Mom, "Sorry about your bread."
Mom said, "It wasn't my bread, anyway, was it? Seems like that was supposed to be."
Jesus is still hiding in the least of these . . . and all of us might be "the least of these" sometime - so the bread isn't ours. The wealth isn't ours. It's His. And we give it away without flinching because we know that anytime we give, we've given to Him - the One who Is among the Living.
Hey - that's how bread from the grocery store turns into communion bread - in case you ever wondered.
I knew lots of Easter People in the first choir I ever directed, up in Chilhowie, VA. Those folks baked bread and broke bread and shared bread with anybody they could! And they shared their love with me even though I wasn't very good at my job yet - just a little student director.
God made a door from Living to Living.
Don't go looking for Jesus in the robes that ministers wear.
Don't go looking for Jesus only when you think the altar is set up the right way in the church sanctuary.
Don't go looking for Jesus in anything that we use for a shrine.
Shrines are not the same thing as the person (unless you practice transubstantiation, but that's a whole other blog post for another time - we'll tackle that on a different day).
Look for Jesus in the eyes of somebody like my friend, Mike, who prayed for the hospital staff he saw every day while he was a cancer patient.
Look for Jesus in the parking lot. Give your bread away because you know that Jesus is walking with that person who needs it.
Look for Jesus in the spirited expressions of somebody like Joyce, who says whatever they are thinking, who creates beauty like there is no tomorrow, who treats everybody the same.
Look for Jesus with the lady who makes blankets for everybody she knows.
Look for Jesus with the alcoholics you know. He's with them.
Look for Jesus with your own self, when you're having a very bad day. When you just know you've done everything wrong. He's with you.
Jesus. Is. Not. In. A. Place. For. Dead. People.
Jesus is not frozen in time.
Jesus is not reserved only for those who can afford the best spot in the graveyard.
Jesus is here with the living - the people who are still alive, kicking, and making mistakes!
Good news! That's good news!
He's not hiding with the dead. He's alive.