Looking for the Lord

The Fifth reflection in a series, “Hope to See Us Through,” by the Rev. Terry Elsberry.
I

Easter Day has come and gone. We kept the holiest day of the year in the best ways we could. With online services and virtual connections with family and friends. It wasn’t Easter as usual. Yet the power and the joy of the greatest reality and fact of our lives as Christians has been celebrated once again.

What is that fact? What is that reality? It’s the greatest truth of human history. Which is this: Jesus is alive. As we say in our Easter services: “The Lord is risen! He is risen indeed!”

Yes! Our Lord, Jesus, is alive! He was dead and now He lives—brought back to life by a power greater than Covid19. It’s the power of the living God.

The question for many of us this year as we live with the horrors of the Virus may well be: where IS this living God?

I’m reminded of the morning of His resurrection. What may be our question today was the same question people who loved Jesus were asking then. Confronted by Jesus’ empty tomb and missing body, Mary Magdalene asked: “My Lord is gone. Where have they taken Him?” The disciples who came to the tomb and also found it empty went home asking the question: “If He’s alive, where is He?”

In the midst of any crisis in our lives, when we feel lost and alone and afraid isn’t it a natural response to ask: “Where’s the Lord?”

So we may well be asking the question now: “In the midst of this desperate, tragic, wildly disconcerting time we’re living through, where is He? Where’s the Lord in this situation?”

II

The answer comes to us from the Lord Himself. In Jesus’ own words: “Seek me and I will be found by you.” In other words, ask Him, “Lord, where are You? Show me. Let me see you—where You are, what You’re doing, what You want me to see in these times.”

Pray that, and I fervently believe He will indeed show you.

In the meantime, here are five ways He shows Himself active and present in my life and in the lives of many others.

ONE, in the Springtime beauty of the natural world. Virtually every day, it seems another bush or flower has exploded with new color. The God of Easter is also the God of creation. He reveals Himself every day in the wonders of nature.

TWO, in beautiful music. The Hallelujah chorus was as powerful sung this past weekend at Christ Church by four choristers as by four hundred. Such glorious music is a direct conduit to the Lord who inspired its composing in the first place and anoints its performing today.

THREE, in our relationships with the people we love. To have children safe at home who would otherwise be away at school. To hear a beloved voice on the telephone, see a beloved face on Skype or Zoom. To communicate by e-mail or text—however we connect with our loved ones is a reminder that where love is there the Lord is. Because He is love.

FOUR, in our Bible reading, our prayer, our praise and our worship of Him. I get on my stationary bike, turn on Christian music, sing along and feel His presence, the presence of the risen Lord, right there with me.

Tune into our online church services and though the church may be empty of parishioners the Lord is with us wherever we are. He said, “Wherever three or more are gathered in My Name there I will be.”

He’s saying we have to be together in the spirit, not necessarily under the same roof. The true church is us—Christians, the Body of Christ, living stones drawn together by His Spirit, the Spirit of the risen Lord.

FIVE, in the acts of love and caring we see in the news and practice in our own lives. An article in the Easter Day edition of the Sunday times, “The Science of Helping Out,” by Tara Parker-Pope, reminds us of the crucial value of helping others.

She writes: “Science offers a simple and effective way to bolster our own emotional health. To help yourself, start by helping others.”

For us as Christians, this isn’t news. It’s affirmation. It’s the fundamental call of Jesus to each one of us: “Give!” Give and you will receive. But give comes first.

Feeling low? Think of some way to help lift someone else’s spirits. Make a call. Send a text. Write a note. Pray for someone you know who is sick or alone or in some kind of need. Find some people to help who cannot help themselves.

Give. And there He’ll be, right there beside you.

III

In closing I’d like to recall the words of a spiritual hero of mine, a man who in the early years of the Twentieth Century brought the power of miracles into the present-day world and who lived in the daily presence of the Risen Lord.

He wrote: “I see that there is a place for us in Christ Jesus where the heavens are always open to us. I see that God has a realm of divine life opening up to us where there are boundless possibilities, where there is limitless power, where there are untold resources, where we have victory over the power of evil.”

All this may be ours through the presence of the risen Lord in our lives.

May it be, Lord, may it be. AMEN.