What an opportunity we have this week to pause and reflect upon the resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. With so many issues spinning around us, it is wonderful to pause and remember the resurrection. As racial injustices, impacts of climate change, political polarities, post-pandemic proclivities, wars and rumors of wars all contend for our attention, this week we pause to celebrate an empty tomb. “Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord,” (John 20:18).
For those congregations that hear lectionary messages weekly, the passages build to this Sunday. For pastors who weave their own proclamation series and orchestrate their own progression of themes, the excitement of the congregation builds toward the celebration of Easter. The greater the preparation of Lent; the greater the celebration of Easter Sunday. Maundy Thursday services, Good Friday services, small groups, praise bands and choir cantatas all trek toward the commemoration of the resurrection of our Lord. One of the areas that I miss most about serving as a local church pastor is shepherding a congregation through the Lenten Season toward resurrection Sunday. Resurrection Sunday has the power to pause a world in need.
As Christians, we lead by example by pausing to reflect upon the resurrection. If the world ever needed a pause, now is the time. Chris Johnson, author of “The Leadership Pause,” says, “To pause is to interrupt an automatic and typically out-of-awareness behavior such as a thought, an action, or even an emotion – to open up the space to see what the present moment will hold” (p. 57). What does this moment of interruption on April 9, 2023 mean for us as Christians?
It is a moment to remember that there is nothing happening in our world that a resurrected Jesus cannot make better. That is why we pray. That is why we preach. That is why we sing. That is why we reflect. That is why we mourn. That is why we hope. That is why we remember.
In our pause, we do not lose sight of George Floyd or Breonna Taylor, imprisoned Rev. Dr. Hkalam Samson and imprisoned Rev. Thian Lian Sang, grieving families of tornado victims in Arkansas, Illinois, and Indiana, those with long COVID and those with short life expectancies.
Rather, our pause opens up the space to acknowledge that all of our human efforts recede in comparison to the power of an almighty God. We minister to others. We engage in mission. We proclaim, we cry, and intercede. Most importantly, we pause to remember that our resurrected Lord can do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or imagine. For such a time as this, we pause.
Dear God, make the world a better place, within us, through us, in front of us, behind us, and around us. Surround the world with your presence. We praise you, our resurrected Savior and Lord. Amen.
Dr. C. Jeff Woods
American Baptist Churches USA