All Saints Episcopal Church, Hilton Head Island, SC
April 1, 2009
"I want all the cultures of all lands to be blown about
my house as freely as possible. But I refuse to be blown off my feet by
I was struck by the profound simplicity of his statement. In fact, after reading and re-reading these words for a few minutes, I saw a Christian message for those leaving church following the celebration of Easter. By inserting different words, but keeping the same intention of Gandhi, I found myself with this statement for the Christian: "I want all the religions of the world to have their say, and their freedom to be expressed. But I refuse to be blown off my feet by any." In other words, I, too, have a faith, and it is secure. My faith informs me that I must be in the world with "resurrection faith;" a faith that is demonstrated and acted upon as I move in a world that has many cultures and faiths. I am not to diminish my own faith for the sake of others, but as I say this I am to be reminded my convictions are met with others, whose faith is just as real, just as important as my own. How can I honor where they are and still practice my faith in full, without reservation or limitations.
Easter is that starting point for me. It is there at the empty tomb that I say "yes" to Jesus as the Christ. It is there in the grand celebration of the empty tomb that I re-dedicate myself to the faith that has been commended to me by my mother and grandparents. It is at Easter that I have the vantage point to look forward and behind to count the blessings of faith. It is there that Christ takes a hold of my life at the deepest level. The celebration has to be real to me; the celebration redeems my life anew, and says this is who I am wherever I may be. It is the Easter celebration, and subsequent celebrations of the resurrection, that I re-commit my life to "be in the world" as a Christian.
How do I engage the world with the integrity of my faith with a world that is admittedly pluralistically cultural and religious? I need to know who I am and what I believe. I need to be secure and comfortable in my own skin and in my own faith. I need to be sensitive, thoughtful, and mindful of where others are coming from. I need to believe that as I am engaged with words and symbols that may be alien to others, to choose my words and images carefully. To share at this level is to share what you personally believe and have the grace to acknowledge your ignorance. Actions speak more profoundly than words. If we are 'resurrection people,' then we better see Christ in others, and that the resurrection is as real today as yesterday, no matter who the person is before us.
The Lord is risen. The Lord is risen indeed!
It is relatively easy on Easter morning, with a great
crowd present, to be enthusiastically joyful and mindful of the
resurrection of Jesus Christ; the real work of faith is always beyond
the four walls of the church, beyond the opened doors, beyond this
campus, beyond Easter, to a world that may be hostile, indifferent or
not initiated in the language we speak or the symbols we carry with us.
Our task is to go forth, into the world, sharing the risen nature of our
lives, and making known how that is possible.
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