you may have life in abundance" (John 10:10)
than thirty years ago I served a parish on the rugged Cabot Trail.
Each Sunday I made the trip from Neil's Harbour to Ingonish and back again
to conduct Sunday worship. The ride was always panoramic, winter or
summer, day or night, foul weather or fair. The few white-knuckle moments
did nothing to diminish the grandeur. Summer Sundays, however, were
sometimes cliffhangers. Tourists and summer residents ambled on the trail.
Unlike me, they were not often preoccupied with being somewhere at a
specific time. Every once and awhile the car in front of me would pull
into our church parking lot. The visitors would join the congregation for
worship. A common refrain at the door afterwards was "What a
beautiful part of the world you live in!" It was true. It has
been true for every community we had the privilege to live in --St.
Margaret's Bay, Western Newfoundland, south shore Nova Scotia, Cape Breton
Island, and the Northwest Arm at Armdale. What's more, when the situation
is reversed, and you find yourself the visitor, the local beauty is
remarkable. I attended General Synod for the first time in Winnipeg
twenty-five years ago. The various reports, briefings and debates have
long since left my memory. What remains indelible is the majesty of The
Red River and wonder of the big prairie sky. Summer past I was off to
study church buildings. They are beautiful and awe inspiring, but no more
so than the natural environment in which they are set. Whether it
was the European countryside, the mid summer drive from The Gulf Coast to
The Green Mountain State, or crossing back up into the Canadian Shield,
the diversity of our world is something to behold. Sheer biodiversity,
life in abundance, is one of The Creator's greatest gifts to us.
diversity and abundance characterizes the witness to Resurrection. Each of
the four Gospel writers tells the story about the risen Christ from their
unique perspective. In fact, we find in the telling of the good news a
sense of resurrection even before the events of Good Friday. "I
have come that you may have life in abundance." The witness of
St. Paul provides many rich and varied impressions of the new life in
Christ. The Book of Acts is a treasury of stories about the vital Christ.
People of faith have always proclaimed, "Christ is alive". The
multiple attestations of this faith are as diverse and abundant as the
people who live it.
people continue to emerge from the darkness of personal "Good
Fridays" and into the light of newfound life. It may be the person
who works through a time of grief, an addict who has become sober, a
person once lost to themselves who has found renewed purpose in life, the
person who looks back on their life with a sense of fulfillment, a
community working on a new vision for the future, a people that perseveres
and rebuilds after a catastrophe. Abundant life is as diverse as the human
family. The bold claim is that stories about abundant life are Easter
stories. How have you discovered abundant life in Christ? What is
your Easter story?
Rod Gillis, Palm Sunday & Easter 2010