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An Expansive Life

By Anna Beth Cross

Luke 24:1-12

Christ is Risen, Christ is Risen Indeed!

Here we are, at the end of the 40(ish) days of Lent, singing “Alleluias” and giving shouts of praise to God! We made it, the waiting is over–what a refreshing, life-giving feeling! 

This season of Lent was a challenging one…the first “semi-normal” Lenten season we’ve had since before the pandemic, but also one that we have journeyed through in an atypical way. Rather than focusing on giving up and letting go, we as a faith community have embraced abundance and a taking on of sorts. Through our series, Full to the Brim, we have emphasized the goodness of God’s grace, the kindness of God’s presence, and the abundance of God’s love that is for you and for me and for every human being. It’s not that we ignored the typical practices of Lent, we’ve embraced those too, just within a new framework that shifts the paradigm we typically endure during this season. 

But what happens next? What do we do now that these 40 days are over? Do we go back to how our lives were before Ash Wednesday? 

I hope not! And not only because the weeks leading up to Ash Wednesday were cold, snow-filled, and sickening days for many. But also because I hope we can all embrace the fullness of everything we have taken on this season, carrying it with us into the “ordinary” days ahead. 

We are called to remember. In the Easter gospel reading found in Luke 24, the women find the empty tomb and are “perplexed” (v. 3). But, after the “two men in dazzling clothes” tell them Jesus has risen and remind them of His words, the women remember. They remember Jesus’ promises, they remember His love, they remember the truth of the resurrection. They remember and they go, taking with them their deep knowing and sharing it with those around them. But the others don’t believe them, they don’t remember. Except for Peter. Peter curiously returns to the tomb and remembers, standing in amazement of the expansiveness of Jesus’ resurrection. 

So what do we do with all we have learned this Lenten season, all that we have taken on and been challenged with?

We remember.

We remember God is with us even in the desert.

We remember that God gathers us in like a mother hen, surrounding us with comfort and refuge.

We remember our worthiness as children of God, no matter how much or how little fruit we recognize in our lives.

We remember the goodness of God’s prodigal grace, grace that is extravagant and unending, grace we are called to extend to others and receive ourselves.

We remember that God turns brokenness into beauty through brazen acts of love.

We remember that we are to cry out for truth, justice, and righteousness, just as the stones would.

And we remember that we are promised an expansive life, filled with the unending love of God. 

It may be a lot to remember, and there will be days when we forget. But we head into these ordinary days holding on to these truths, grasping to what little we can, knowing we are fully embraced by God, fully loved, and fully known, no matter what we may face along the way. Thanks be to God.

When I struggle to remember things, I make up a song or a little jingle in my head. This method definitely helped me on my Hebrew vocabulary quizzes and geometry theorem tests. But maybe music might help you remember too. So here is the Full to the Brim theme song by Sanctified Art that reflects on all of the themes of worship we walked through during Lent. May it be a helpful tool in your remembering.