EASTER Makes All the Difference – Living By the Sound of His Voice

Jesus taught: “As for what was sown on good soil, this is he who hears the word and understands it; he indeed bears fruit, and yields, in one case a hundredfold, in another sixty, and in another thirty.” Mtt.13: 23

At the Resurrection: “When he was at table with them, he took the bread and blessed, and broke it, and gave it to them. And their eyes were opened… They said to each other, "Did not our hearts burn within us while he talked to us on the road, while he opened to us the scriptures?"

Lk. 24: 30-31a, 32

Do you know… just from the sound of the voice?

Or from the breaking gesture?

Are you willing to live by it?

In this resurrection season, how we answer makes all the difference in how Easter makes all the difference in our lives.

Let me tell you about Earl. He was riding the roller coaster when he heard his mother’s voice. He made a beeline for her as soon as the ride came to rest. O, she wasn’t standing in the crowd just below. She was over ½ a mile away. At the back of a packed amusement park in full swing on a hot summer Saturday. He heard her above it all. Through it all. (Of course, she won the kid calling contest that day. And folks talked about this amazing connection between voice and ear for years thereafter. A true story!) When the school or church choir or chorus sings, can you hear your child distinct from all rest? Or your spouse above all the other voices in the mall. Wrap our kids around any mouthpiece in the woodwind section of the band. I can tell you the notes they hit, or meant to.

It’s just this very connection, this simpatico, God wants

between us and the risen Jesus!

Heaven hopes this sound of his voice bond will guide our lives.

Draw near; listen closely; take a little walk, have a little talk. This is how Easter comes to make all the difference … for you and me. Sometimes Easter faith seems hard to reach, a strain to see, a rising ether in thin air. Well, here’s some plain advice your Bible and I passionately believe in. Draw near to Jesus. Repeatedly we’re told “and they went out to see him”. “Zachaeus ran ahead, and climbed a sycamore to see him, for Jesus was to pass that way.” Mary’s not the only one who “sat at his feet and hung on his words”. I invite you, implore you, as often as you can, however you can, get close to Jesus. Listen ‘til you can tell his voice from every other. I’m sorry for this cliché (no I’m not), but we know where he can be found (Bible). We just spend too little time in the neighborhood. [‘Your top 10 reasons?] Do catch the films of him, read the books about him, Google the words and images that surround him. Perk up an ear when the politicians use his name. (Trust, but verify!) But at the last, come to him, listen to him. This (Bible) is where he’ll be appearing-near-you next! We just can’t distinguish the authentic sound of his voice without hearing it in his own words. Come near. Listen.

Have a walk and talk. I love the Emmaus story. It’s Easter evening. Believers on the road from Jerusalem after their worst 3 days ever! They’ve heard the rumors of women and angels, “Christ is alive.” They appear not to believe, but they will see! Note: they didn’t walk alone. Wise believers never do. What about you? In your life, in your faith life, are you tryin’ to go it alone? Cleopas & that other know they just can’t make it through this toughest time unless they walk with somebody else who knows about Jesus. ‘Who knows Jesus. If you & I need a piece of practical advise on how to begin and sustain our faith journey (especially in hard times) here we go: get with, go with, stay with somebody else who knows Jesus! (Not just about Jesus, but Jesus. And not just Sunday, but across the week.) Talk about him. Especially that Friday to Sunday time at Jerusalem. And it may be that Christ himself will come up along side us, just like them. We can trust this. Don’t clam up. Don’t shut down. Tell what troubles your soul. Listen. Let those who know him, even let him… open the scriptures to you about God’s plan. And God does have a plan. ‘For our free choice, in order that love may be a real choice. ‘For our false choice. ‘The sin of turning from him. And God has a plan for our redemption, God’s choice. ‘That by the blood of the cross we may be saved, and by the shattering of the grave, we may rise with his son, Jesus.

But don’t be surprised if you still don’t quite grasp the glory.

Not ‘til you get your hands ‘round the bread and the cup. That’s what opens those “Emmaus eyes.” It’s what can open ours. Today. It takes the gesture [breaking, pouring] to get the grandeur and the grace in what Christ has done for us. ‘Did then. ‘Does now. Forgiveness. Love that holds back nothing. A new beginning. A new commandment. “Love one another as I love you,” says Jesus. Not so long before Jesus gives us this meal, he gives us these words, “I am the good shepherd; I know my own and my own know me.” (Jn. 10:14) Know this, friends, the more often we hold him in our hands at this table, the more deeply and clearly we will distinguish his voice over every other in our every day lives. [Think of all the others who would be lord of your life: bosses, business, schools, spouses, parties in politics, stuff you would own… that so often owns you. Does any other person or thing lie in your hand, look up and say… “This is me…given for you… to make you right, earth to heaven?”]

Don’t we want to live by the sound of his voice, you and I? Then one more thing. The same thing we’ve been sayin’ since Easter morning itself. Do what they did that first Easter. “They told what had happened on the road, and how he was known to them in the breaking of the bread.” Lk. 24: 35 Isn’t that our agenda for the days ahead? On his way to the cross, Jesus spoke of how we fare when we hear the Word and then do the Word. We’ re like “good soil, he who hears the word and understands it, indeed bears fruit and yields, a hundredfold, sixty, thirty.” (Mtt. 13:23) Interesting, my typing told the line like this at first, “The good soul, not soil, bears fruit and yields….” When I caught the error, I just smiled and thought, “Not so wrong after all.” I couldn’t help but think of the verse that has challenged my life since the night I was ordained. It was whispered in our ears, “You have not choose me, but I have chosen you to go and bear fruit that lasts.” Jn. 15: 16 Only know his voice, and we all answer to the same calling.

Ahhh, may we all have ears for the voice that loves us best. Like Earl off the roller coaster. May we hear like a papa or a mom, the voice that makes the sweetest music. May we know them in the voice of Jesus. Follow. Go and tell. It will make all the difference!

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