Sunday, April 1, 2018
By Bernadette Gibson
Easter Sunday 2018
When I reflect on Easter Sunday this year, I am focused on the Eucharist. Communion creates a sense of belonging and acceptance. Communion literally means “sharing.” The Eucharist is supposed to bring everyone together as one body. Every Sunday, we celebrate together that “Although we are many, we are one body, because we all share in one bread.” All are welcome at the Eucharistic Table.
Our Church is called to be the house of God, where the doors are wide open. My prayer is that when is someone moved by the Spirit, and comes looking for God, we can provide a hope filled place for companionship and prayer. On that first Easter morning, the women at the tomb became ministers of hope – and in so doing reveal to us that we too are called to be ministers of hope as well. The kind of hope I am speaking of is not simply a feeling, or a mood, rather it is a choice, an action based upon faith. Hope, can be the energy of transformation. Hope can be the door from one reality to another.
Things that seem possible, reasonable, even logical, in hindsight – often seemed quite impossible, unreasonable, and nonsensical, when we were looking ahead to them. It is not nonsense to believe that we who have been divided from each other can, and will, one-day sit down together at the welcome table of God’s love and grace. With Easter eyes, we can look into the faces of our children and grandchildren and believe there is a future for them. And we can look into the eyes of the poor, the suffering, and the marginalized and believe that God is able to establish justice for all. Easter asks us to envision the world in which we live with justice and mercy as it’s defining qualities.
This Easter morning it feels possible to stretch ourselves to find the faith and the courage to bear the cost of such possibilities. At the Easter Vigil, we bless our people with holy water in order to establish oases of life and hope in the desert places of our world. With the constant singing of Alleluia, we join in the song of the angels in heaven, where every tear shall be wiped away and every sorrow and lament be washed away. Every day, encouraged by the celebration of the Easter mystery, we learn anew what it means to be a disciple of the Risen Jesus as we walk in faith. Faith is the greatest adventure there is, it is an invitation to go much further than we had anticipated or foreseen.
I offer a poem titled, ‘And the Table Will be Wide,’ written by Jan Richardson.
And the Table Will Be Wide:
And the table will be wide.
And the welcome will be wide.
And the arms will open wide to gather us in.
And our hearts will open wide to receive.
And we will come as children who trust there is enough.
And we will come unhindered and free.
And our aching will be met with bread.
And our sorrow will be met with wine.
And we will open our hands to the feast without shame.
And we will turn toward each other without fear.
And we will give up our appetite for despair.
And we will taste and know of delight.
And we will become bread for a hungering world.
And we will become drink for those who thirst.
And the blessed will become the blessing.
I share this poem because it beautifully illustrates the Easter Eucharist message. It describes the way communion nourishes us to share God’s compassion and love. The poem reminds us that there is always room at the table, and the table is never full. It’s not always easy to sit at the table with some people. But, no matter who the person was, the outcast, the sick, the prostitute, Jesus invited them to table of kinship. I challenged our membership this Easter Sunday to reflect on the ways they engage in the Eucharist outside of our pews today. Inviting people into communion can be difficult, but communion gives us Hope and reminds us of God’s everlasting love. Come, all are welcome. Let us break bread together this Easter. Let us share the message of Hope that Jesus lived and rose from “Arise, shine, for your light has come, the glory of God rises upon you.” It is not nonsense to believe that we who have been divided from each other can, and will, one-day sit down together at the welcome table of God’s love and grace. Happy Easter you are most welcome here!
Bernadette Gibson is the Director of Pastoral Care at Old Saint Patrick’s Church.