Christ the Lord Is Risen

The weather forecasters are telling us Easter will be a beautiful day - sunny, and with temperatures in the 70's. A great day to notice signs of new life outside on our way to church!

And Easter will be a beautiful day as we gather in the sanctuary for worship - the chancel filled with spring flowers, the choirs filling our hearts with glorious music, the scripture recounting the unexpected discovery of Jesus' resurrection, and we, the congregation, starting worship off by singing the powerful strains of "Christ the Lord is Risen Today!"

That song has become an Easter tradition, but it hasn't always been so. There was an Easter - back in 1739 - when it was a brand-new song, sung for the first time on Easter morning by Methodists gathered in a not-so-beautiful old London factory they had recently reclaimed as their "Meeting House."

"Christ the Lord is risen today," they sang, with a special emphasis on today. Many of them had begun a whole new kind of life in that early Methodist community, guided by John Wesley's teaching of practical Christianity to move from indifference to heartfelt faith in Christ, from destructive habits toward deeper wholeness, from self-focus to caring abundantly for others.

They experienced, as John and Charles Wesley had, that Christ was truly "risen" -- present then and there, bringing new life to them, and through them to the world.

In the following months, that old factory building, called "The Foundery Meeting House," housed a free dispensary for the surrounding community, a clinic of sorts, and a free school for children. What a witness to the love of Christ!

And for us, in 2017, Easter is really Easter when we let the lyrics of "Christ the Lord Is Risen Today" be true for us, and open our eyes and hearts to the new possibilities, the new callings, the new dreams that the love of the Living Christ is stirring up in us.

This is the Good News for us, the message that makes Easter beautiful:  Christ the Lord Is Risen - Today!

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