Eastertide III-V: Going Places

The post-Easter stories of the gospels are about moving out. Jesus tells his loved ones and to followers that they need to get going…to tell, to be, to share, to serve. And they do, they spread out all over the world!

I watched in horror and then in gratitude this week after the bombs exploded close to the finish line at the Boston Marathon, horror at yet another act of violence, but gratitude for all those who got going to help and to heal. Running police and fire officers, bystanders racing to get resources, people offering phones, clothes and shelter. Even though the race was officially called off, people still kept moving in service of wholeness and healing in whatever ways they could. Easter provides energy and power to keep moving. All of the individuals in all the agencies who kept up the faithful pursuit until its finish seemed, from the distant remove of the media, not to flag or grow weary in well-doing. It was invigorating and blessed to hear stories trickle down about care being offered from hospitals with specialties to ordinary folk in neighborhoods offering shelter and food, both in Boston and in West, Texas.

After a trauma, or even just after a sea-change, I sometimes feel paralyzed, even as the tumult and the noise carries on. Whether it is to wrap myself up in a scarf to savor the good news or to hide away from the scary things that still go bump in the night, there is a part of me that wants to retreat, to hunker down; maybe it is just an Introvert thing! But I am seeing how much Easter energy is a propulsion into action. So I ask in prayer what needs doing in my world?

I have many luminous exemplars around me. Among faith communities to which I am connected, I have heard of the following adventures in the last week: a mission trip to Costa Rica, a trip to Nicaragua to become sisters and brothers in Christ with people who are followers of Jesus, a trip to New Orleans to keep the rebuilding and recovery going all these years still. I have listened to people talk about leading groups for those who are grieving, gathering friends to introduce them to good news through the medium of art, and teaching older saints to pray, those who feels as if they don’t have the skills.

The world of Easter is full of need. The energy of Easter compels us to follow a call to a place where we are of use, bringing joy and hope. However, it is not always organized or  planned. This morning, walking through a department story, someone not far from me had lost her way and could not  find the adjoining mall; how simple it was to take the time to clarify and to point her in the right direction. Someone on the block needed to tell his story to one who would listen; it did not cost a great deal to slow down my agenda to be present for the telling of his story. There are costly moments–times to stand up for justice in a meeting, occasions when everything is dropped in service of an emergency of someone else, expenditure of money (unplanned) for the recovery and welfare of a community crisis. But the power of the resurrection allows us to step out, and up, and get going when those needs constitute our own call.

I am going this week–going out and away on a trip across the United States to places I have not seen and family whom I love. It’s part pilgrimage, part reunion, part curiosity seeking. But as I have prepared I have realized that each moment of the trip is an opportunity to be an Easter presence and to act with the energy of new life that Easter brings. It requires as ever my attentiveness, my awareness, my intentionality and my open-heart. When I return to home and blog in two weeks, I hope I will have once again encountered bread for the journey and strength for each day in such a way that joy abounds in my me and in those I meet!

God be in my head and in my understanding. God be in my eyes and in my looking; God be in my mouth and in my speaking; God be in my heart and in my thinking; God be at my end and at my departing.    (Sarum Prayer)

 

About Elizabeth Nordquist

Elizabeth Nordquist is a Presbyterian pastor, teacher, and spiritual director who writes on women's issues, spirituality and Scripture, and what is happening in the world--hers, her neighborhood, the Church and the world. Each day she looks for ways in which the Spirit is moving in and around her.


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