"...just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in the newness of life." Romans 6:4b (ESV).
Because of Easter, houses of worship are ringing out with Alleluias today celebrating the resurrection of Jesus. The hope of Christians lies in Jesus’ work on the cross and his resurrection telling us that, although death is real, God chooses life. It’s the great message for this Sunday but what about Monday and every day after that?
Priest and author Andrew Greely wrote, “Easter did not happen just once in the past. It happens every day. Easter is not merely a harbinger of ultimate resurrection when life triumphs completely over death. It reveals this every day. Each of us experience death and rebirth often. Today is the festival when all those “little” resurrections are brought together and integrated with the overarching resurrections, once and future, which are at the core of our faith.”
Believing that Easter happens every day shapes our life together at Presbyterian Homes & Services and within its communities. The resurrection of Jesus means three things for how we live, work and serve in those everyday experiences.
Because of Easter, Christ's resurrection affirms that the quality of our physical life matters
We are made in the image of God, but we are physical beings with skin and bones, beating hearts, working muscles and thinking brains. We know and relate to others by their physical appearance. Yes, we are carriers of The Spirit, but we carry that spirit in a human body because this is what God intended. When PHS professional care givers and staff serve older adults, such things as personal care, wellness and quality of life matter because these bodies we all live in are gifts from God and worthy of care. We witness a “little” resurrection whenever an older adult recovers from illness, regains strength or finds renewed purpose.
Because of Easter, Christ’s resurrection reveals life beyond death
People who live and work in senior living communities are well acquainted with death and its companion, grief. Residents may wake up one morning to learn that their neighbor is gone. A Resident Assistant arrives at work to find an empty space, which the day before was occupied by someone they cared for through months, even years. Yet in face of such grief, Easter tells us that there’s more – more joy than sorrow, more hope than despair, more life than death, well beyond what we can know. PHS is a faith-based organization and faith calls us to believe in that which is not seen. By fostering communities of joy, hope and life, we want to offer, not only a “Best Day,” but also a glimpse of the eternal realm of life beyond life. We witness a “little” resurrection whenever we share a loss and yet can find grace, gratitude and affirmation that whatever or whomever seems lost to us is in the hand of God forever.
Because of Easter, Christ’s resurrection is a sign that the New Creation, while not fully realized, has begun
Christians regularly pray together, “Your kingdom come, your will be done on earth as it is in heaven,” and we mean it. The first phrase is an assurance from God to us and the second is a promise from us to God. Because of Easter, we affirm that God has redeemed all creation and God’s sovereign realm is secure and emerging. The second phrase dedicates us to live now as if we are living in this eternal realm. While we still live in a broken world, even the partial good we create can be transformed to become lasting. The fruits of our labor bears a blessing now and carries that blessing into a world to come in ways we may not completely understand. The vision of PHS “to provide more choices and opportunities for more older adults to live well,” aspires to participate in the beginnings of a new creation where God wipes away all tears from their eyes. In the meantime, we witness a “little” resurrection whenever we create smiles in the eyes of the people we serve.
Because of Easter, we have a high calling in our mission “to honor God by enriching the lives and touching the hearts of older adults.” May every “little” resurrection we witness remind us of the great resurrection we celebrate on Easter and may we celebrate it every day.