Yesterday was Easter and, yeah, it was a great day here at Central. Tammi Carter submitted to the Lordship of Jesus by participating in his death, burial, and resurrection in baptism. It reminded each of us of our own Christian baptisms and our own resurrections. Our kids showed us the hand motions to “Lord, I Lift Your Name on High” with great energy and enthusiasm, reminding us how blessed we are to be in a church family with five full generations. Kevin’s choir — ranging in age from Morgan and Hannah to Bob and Vernon — expressed our faith powerfully. There were 860 of us in the worship center singing songs together about eternal life in Christ Jesus. We read from the Scriptures that proclaim the truth of his resurrection. We celebrated this new life together around our risen Lord’s table.
Yesterday was Easter and, yeah, it was a great day here at Central.
But today is also resurrection day for followers of Jesus. So is tomorrow. And the day after that. See, Easter impacts every one of us from here on out. Every day. We are all living resurrection lives. We are all guaranteed to be raised with Christ on that last day. So we are all empowered by those promises to live boldly and courageously for Jesus. Every day. Because of the Resurrection, we can take bolder risks in evangelizing our neighborhoods. We can take bolder risks in ministering to the homeless and hungry, bolder risks in loving our enemies and forgiving those who hurt us. Because of the Resurrection, we can take bolder risks in protecting the helpless and defending the weak.
The Resurrection of Jesus compels us to say ‘yes’ to bigger Gospel dreams and to say ‘no’ to the status quo. The Resurrection shakes us and moves us to say ‘yes’ to bolder Gospel actions and to say ‘no’ to maintaining the same old thing. We can risk anything and give up everything in denying self and sacrificing self, knowing that the salvation of the world and the salvation of my body and soul is in the powerful and loving hands of our God who promises and delivers the Resurrection!
My great friend David Byrnes texted me during the first inning of last night’s Rangers-Astros opener: “Quite literally minutes after my bracket breathed its last, the Rangers season started. There’s an Easter analogy in there somewhere.”
About six innings later, he texted back: “Of course, the analogy isn’t as effective without a ‘W.’ And it cannot involve Lyle Lovett in any way.”
Yuk. It looked like the Rangers were just going through the motions in a meaningless exhibition game last night, not snorting fire to atone for last season’s collapse by ripping apart the Double-A Astros. Good gravy. Matt Harrison got roughed up pretty good by a team that’s lost more than a hundred games in each of the past two seasons and has a combined payroll of slightly less than half of Tony Romo’s guaranteed money. The offense couldn’t get on base. The defense was booting balls all over the field. The only guy who looked to be in mid-season form was Derek Lowe who entered with the Rangers clawing back to cut the deficit to 4-2 and immediately gave up a three-run homer to a former pitcher.
The Rangers play the Lastros 18 times this season. The winner of the AL West will be the team that beats Houston 15 times. Tuesday night is a “must-win.”
It’s come down to two people in our office tournament brackets here at the church. If Syracuse wins their next two games and takes the national championship, then George is our overall winner. If anything else happens — anything else at all — then Allyson enjoys her one shining moment as our staff bracket champ.
As for the last place lunch, it has already been decided. Despite Gail’s blank spaces and her prediction that Gonzaga would beat Gonzaga to advance to the Final Four and then receive a ‘bye’ to reach the title game, Connie has locked up the lowest point total. Connie! I know! It’s remarkable, really, that Connie correctly picked 18 of the first 32 games and then only picked six more right the rest of the way. She didn’t land a single team in the Elite Eight, but she has landed another free lunch.