Sunday, March 15, 2009

Celebrating Easter at Occidental Square in Seattle

Do you have childhood memories of getting all the necessary Easter accessories? The dress, the purse, the shoes, the gloves. . . .all of it just so! It was an important time for me as a child as I looked forward to the celebration of Easter which of course, included the Easter Bunny and baskets full of chocolate eggs.

But, this year, my focus is on much different things for Easter. Deciding what to wear will be at the bottom of my list of important preparations, as we get ready to celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus at Occidental Square in Seattle.

This is a definite experience of moving from the “unfamiliar to the familiar.”

It will feel unfamiliar to get up and have Easter morning free. It will feel unfamiliar to forego our family brunch and instead to feast with the people that come to Occidental Square from all walks of life. It will feel unfamiliar to celebrate with many people whom we do not know, instead of just our church community. It will feel unfamiliar to be setting up the park, rather than the church building to be all decked out in Easter lilies and finery.

But, as we are learning in Missio Lux, often times it is the unfamiliar that Jesus calls us to live.

I think about him, coming to earth as a baby, hitting that stable must have felt rather unfamiliar. Living within the constraints of a human body was pretty unfamiliar. Being physically separated from his Father had to be very unfamiliar as he had been with him for eternity before. Hanging on the cross, experiencing pain at the deepest level of suffering, felt unfamiliar for one who created a world free to pain and suffering.

We are called to live a lifestyle like Jesus.

Are we willing to risk the unfamiliar and the unknown to be with people that he delights to be around?

Jesus last public words before his arrest were about this very topic: Listen to what Jesus tells us in Matthew 25:
Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the creation of the world. 35 For I was hungry, and you fed me. I was thirsty, and you gave me a drink. I was a stranger, and you invited me into your home. 36 I was naked, and you gave me clothing. I was sick, and you cared for me. I was in prison, and you visited me.’
37 “Then these righteous ones will reply, ‘Lord, when did we ever see you hungry and feed you? Or thirsty and give you something to drink? 38 Or a stranger and show you hospitality? Or naked and give you clothing? 39 When did we ever see you sick or in prison and visit you?’
40 “And the King will say, ‘I tell you the truth, when you did it to one of the least of these my brothers and sisters, you were doing it to me!’

As we prepare to celebrate the Resurrection of Jesus in Occidental Square with people from all walks of life; let’s prepare to celebrate with Jesus. This is what he is telling us, that as we are present Easter day to share his good news through action, celebration and prayer, we are directly doing it unto the One we choose to follow.

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