Stepping into the World at Easter
In preparing for Easter this year, I recalled my first journey to the Land of the Bible as a young pastor. Especially vivid is my experience at the Garden Tomb outside the Old City. The group in which I was sharing had just completed a service of Holy Communion, and we then individually moved to various parts of that garden for personal meditation.
As I approached the edge of the garden from where, according to the Garden Tomb tradition, Calvary Hill could be seen, I was determined to get as close to the edge as possible in order to get a good photograph. But with the last step I took, the sights and sounds from below the cliff distracted me. It was a bus station with people scurrying about. Not wanting to be distracted, I stepped back into the garden where I could focus only on the hill above. After taking a picture, I saw that I was standing under tree limbs with red buds: A Judas tree, and I wondered for a moment: Was I missing something I needed to see, as Judas did?
I made my way to the Garden Tomb to wait in line for my turn to enter. I spent a few moments inside, viewing the two small chambers, and still wondering. Turning to step out of the tomb, I was struck into deep wonder by the most transforming view. To step out of the tomb was not only to be in touch with the power of the Resurrection but, also, to be again aware of the bus station. To exit the tomb in a garden with a view of a bus station was to understand that the Resurrection is about God's love in Jesus Christ for all people, including those boarding buses across the way.
This is the core of our faith that calls us into mission and ministry to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world. With this understanding, we at the General Board of Global Ministries join with our entire United Methodist Church in stepping into the world as living testimony to the love of God in Jesus Christ for all.
In this Easter season, may we once again be transformed by the power of the Resurrection.
Edward W. Paup
Date posted: Apr 08, 2009