Renewal from Loss

“Don’t it always seem to go
That you don’t know what you’ve got ’til it’s gone.”

Raise your hand if you know the next line to this 1970 Joni Mitchell song (and I guess Amy Grant, Counting Crows and others covered it in later years) . . . . . “They paved paradise, put up a parking lot.”

I’ve been muttering it lately as we’ve limped through recent weeks without an office computer (virus! but the new one has just come in). I imagine not a few of you have experienced the exasperation of a computer with a bug, an Internet that’s down, a smart phone on the fritz, etc., etc., etc.

Somehow we muddle through, but in the meanwhile, there’s inconvenience at the very least and near paralysis at the worst.

I’m sure this doesn’t come close to the utter paralysis, loss and despair felt by the disciples that first Friday and Saturday after Jesus’ death. Everything they had dreamed about in his proclamation of a new kingdom of God, everything they had experienced in Jesus’ love, wisdom and grace, everything they had come to rely on in his healing power and confident faith – done, over with, GONE.

Now, surely, there was nothing left to do but complete the last funeral observances, anoint his body, grieve for the appointed time . . . and try to muddle through.

But that is not what the women found when they came to an empty tomb on Sunday. That is not what the disciples experienced when the resurrected Savior appeared to them in the upper room. That is not what the apostles did when the ascended Lord poured out upon them the Holy Spirit and sent them into the world to preach and teach and heal in his name.

The Church is not muddling through, trying to make the best of things in the absence of its Leader. Yes, we have our limits and our glitches, times of frustration or even near paralysis. But as the people of God, we do know what we’ve got, because it’s not gone. We receive it again this Easter, and every Sunday, through Christ present in Word and Sacrament, through Christ living in the body of believers gathered in worship and fellowship, through Christ revealed in the hungry, poor and yearning in whom he promised we would see his face.

In the face of the world’s muddling and losses and paralysis, may Easter Joy renew how good we’ve got it and inspire us to share that goodness with all around us.

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