“Alleluia! Christ is Risen!” “Christ is Risen, indeed!”
This is the joyous shout of the early Christian Church. It is the act of praise spoken by the newly baptized and it is the faithful refrain we proclaim today as faithful Christians. Jesus: the man of Nazareth; the one who is the Christ-Messiah; is risen. It is the praise upon our hearts and in our minds and on our tongues. For many, Jesus’ resurrection is the moving force in their lives. Heart-felt praise and words of thanksgiving come easily to them. Yet for some, these words of praise are harder to speak out loud.
Despair and anguish have a way of moving us to cry out to the universe for aid and guidance. Culturally, these acts of prayer and praise have become so idiomatic that we don’t even recognize them as such. People who identify themselves as ‘nones’ (the new label for those who claim no religious affiliation) will still use phrases like: “Oh My God!” and “Thank God for that.” et al. The speaker may not have intended to use these words as prayer or praise but their utterance still invokes the Divine Presence.
So what can be done with this non-directed invocation of God’s Presence in a situation? I knew a boy in my high school youth group who was considering entering the priesthood. He had this annoying habit. Whenever he heard anyone, and I mean anyone, use the Lord’s Name in vain, he would quickly follow it with a response.
“Thank God…” “For this wonderful day.”
“Jesus Christ…” “is risen, indeed!”
“Christ Almighty…” “Have mercy on us.”
And so on.
One day one of us asked him what he was doing. He said, “I’m changing the curse into praise. Because ‘wherever two or three are gather there also is God.’ Our words together welcome God in.”
And there you have it, a simple yet powerful opportunity to witness to the Presence of God at work here and now. Each of us is called by faith to be a part of the Transformative Power that is the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
Transform the curses of this day with shouts of praise!
“Jesus Christ is risen today, Alleluia, Amen!”
Grace and Peace,