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One of my earliest childhood memories is about my pet turtle, who lived in a bowl in our house. Sometimes I would take my turtle, in the bowl, to get some fresh air out in the back yard. One day I decided that my turtle might like to do something more than experience fresh air while swimming around in the bowl, in the back yard. I decided that my turtle might like to briefly experience freedom from the confines of the bowl. So I took my turtle out of the bowl and let him walk around on the dirt and grass.
I don’t remember how it happened, but somehow my turtle got lost. After much searching, my turtle was nowhere to be found, I finally accepted that I would never see my turtle again. My turtle was gone forever. Then came the cold, snowy, winter months. Finally, on an early spring day months later, I had the surprise of my very young life. There was my turtle, walking around the yard. It was with great joy that I announced to my mother that I had found my turtle alive and well.
Maybe something like this has happened to you. You lost something that was really important to you. You searched for it, but it was nowhere to be found. You knew where it was supposed to be. But it wasn’t there. So you finally gave up and accepted that it was gone forever. Do you remember how joyful you felt when one day it unexpectedly turned up?
Multiply many times our joyful experiences at finding something important to us, thought to be lost forever, then we might just get some understanding of how those who followed Jesus felt when he appeared to them, alive and well, after they had seen him executed on the cross. I believe that the closest most of us come to having that kind of joy in our lives is on Easter Sunday. But then comes Monday. We go back to our routines of life, which tend to be less than joyful. After all, Easter is over.
Actually, my observation, as both a lay person and a pastor, is that many people, including faithful Christians, do not realize that while it is true Easter Sunday is over in a day, the church continues to celebrate Easter over about the next six weeks, which is known as the season of Easter. The church has also come to identify every Sunday as a little Easter – a day to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus.
Every worship service is meant to be a celebration of the living Jesus in our midst. This means that it is possible for us to experience the same great joy in the risen, living Jesus during the rest of this Easter season, and every Sunday. If we allow ourselves to do that, maybe we can actually experience the joy of Jesus more and more in all the days of the week, all year long. Maybe we will go beyond experiencing, to proclaiming the living Jesus as our Lord and Savior to our friends, neighbors, and relatives, who also need to experience the joy of Jesus.
Grace and peace, Ray
Thanks for your attention. We look forward to hearing your comments about our web-site. We also invite you to send us stories of your experiences and observations of present hopes and hope fulfilled, so we can spread them around the world via this web-site. This is one way we can all join together to help keep hope alive.
May God be with you,
Patty Perez and Ray Gough