By Eric Burgdorf, Pastor at Hope Free Lutheran Church, Wyoming, Minnesota, 2011 Easter newsletter message (edited).
I like being at home. There is a certain amount of predictability. I know where my toothbrush is and where the box of cereal is. I can walk from room to room on autopilot. I know where to position the faucet for the right temperature of water for a shower. Even the bad things aren’t so bad once I am used to them. Buckets go in certain places if it is a hard rain. Electrical switches and receptacles hanging out of the wall are perfectly okay as long as you don’t touch the screws on the sides! The door just takes an extra push to open when the humidity goes up. And, if I lift my feet I don’t trip on the porch boards that are popping up– it just becomes habit. No problem! Oh, that falling down chicken coop? Adds character to the old place.
The problem is when somebody comes to visit. Suddenly, the bad things that I live with as normal become obvious problems. I need to warn guests about the light switches. I need to point out the popped floor boards on the porch (or the holes in the hayloft floor) so they don’t fall. When guests start looking around and asking questions about holes in the walls, wires hanging out, “temporary” pantry shelving in the living room, etc., then their polite questions make obvious the sorry state of the house. What is normal, acceptable, and even somewhat enjoyable to me when I am home alone, is seen in a more accurate way when a guest comes. The house needs work, things need to change. Unless drastic measures are taken, a year from now things will be in worse shape. Then I think about what would a realtor say if we wanted to sell. It would be listed as a handyman special, or, maybe even as a bulldozer special. Buyer beware!
Our lives can be the same. We are so used to the problems and the bad that we think this old life is normal, comfortable, and even good. We need to step back and see our lives– yes, our families, towns, and world– from a different perspective. This world we call our home is not what it should be. We face death, fighting (from wars on an international level to conflicts in the home), hunger, anxiety, depression, sickness, and handicaps. The list seems endless. Even our thinking is bad. We live our lives thinking selfishness is not just normal but it is the way to happiness– as long as your selfishness doesn’t bump up against my selfishness. We are totally messed up.
This coming Sunday is Easter, Resurrection Sunday, the highlight of the church year. Easter, preceded by Good Friday, is the Good News that God has looked at our “normal” lives and given His judgment. He has called evil evil. He called death an enemy. And He has not just given His judgment about the condition, but He has laid out a plan for change, paid the price for the change, and invited us to exchange our “normal” for His perfect and very good. Easter is the proof that God has not forsaken us. Easter is the proof that God loves us. Easter is the proof that everything is changed. Jesus rose from the dead! Think about that. Jesus has conquered sin and all that goes with it. What a change! What a good change!
As we look to Jesus and live as Jesus calls on us to live, things here will begin to change. Then, in our own resurrection from the dead, we will experience complete renewal and change as we are brought into God’s perfect heavenly home.
John 14:1-3 — (Jesus said), “Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me. My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.”
Revelation 21:3-5 — I heard a loud voice shout from the throne: God’s home is now with his people. He will live with them, and they will be his own. Yes, God will make his home among his people. He will wipe all tears from their eyes, and there will be no more death, suffering, crying, or pain. These things of the past are gone forever. Then the one sitting on the throne said: I am making everything new. Write down what I have said. My words are true and can be trusted.”
Romans 8:18-21 — I consider that our present sufferings are not worth comparing with the glory that will be revealed in us. For the creation waits in eager expectation for the children of God to be revealed. For the creation was subjected to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in hope that the creation itself will be liberated from its bondage to decay and brought into the freedom and glory of the children of God.
Romans 8:24-25 — For in this hope we were saved. But hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what they already have? But if we hope for what we do not yet have, we wait for it patiently.
Heavenly Father, your Son has promised that he is preparing a place for us. Prepare us also for that place in your home. In the name of Jesus we pray. Amen.