1 Peter 1:17-23
One of the blessings of medicine is good eye care. When our vision becomes compromised by age or disease, we are fortunate to be able to go to the ophthalmologist or optometrist and take care of the problem. Often the doctor prescribes eyeglasses or contact lenses, which correct our vision so we can see clearly. Good vision gives us the right perspective and enables us to function well. However, when we first try out a new prescription, we may find that it takes awhile to get used to the corrected vision. At first things can seem a little strange, as though we are not seeing clearly. Gradually, our eyes adjust to the correction of the new lenses and we are able to see well.
The Easter season is a time of adjusting to a new vision. God has done an incredible work. The tomb has been emptied. Death has been defeated. On the Sunday of the resurrection, our hearts fill with joy and our voices soar with the hymns of new life. A new world has been born, a new vision has been given, and a new way of living has been prescribed. The church is invited to wear its Easter lenses as it looks out upon the world and responds to the challenge of living in light of the resurrection.
We live from the perspective of Easter. Perspective is important. The right perspective can bring joy and happiness; the wrong perspective can lead to disaster. A little boy and a little girl, brother and sister, were shopping with their mother in a large department store. The mother needed to have some time for her shopping so she took the children to the soda fountain, bought them ice cream cones, and told them to stay there till she came back. Well, the children were fascinated by the elevator and could not resist the temptation to ride it one more time. So, with ice cream cones in hand, they jumped off their stools and went to ride the elevator.
They were enjoying their up-and-down ride, but the little boy’s ice cream was melting faster than he could eat it. Finally it was dripping down the cone and onto his hand despite his best attempts to eat the delicious treat before it melted. At one floor the elevator stopped and an elegantly dressed woman in a full-length fur coat got on. She stood in front of the children waiting to be taken to her floor. The little boy was desperately trying to deal with his melting ice cream. Seeing the back of the lady’s fur coat, he gently began to wipe the sticky, melting ice cream on her coat. His sister said, “Be careful, Billy, or you will get fur in your ice cream.” Now that illustrates perspective. What is a solution to one is to another a way to damage an expensive garment. It’s all in the perspective.
Easter people live with the perspective of the resurrection. God has won the victory over death. The worst that can happen to us has been overcome by God taking Jesus from the tomb. That is our perspective. This vision challenges us to live boldly and daringly. “You have been born anew, not of perishable but of imperishable seed, through the living and enduring word of God” (1 Peter 1:23). In other words, you have a new perspective. Live from this perspective. Dare to “love one another deeply from the heart” (v. 22).
The early church had to get used to its Easter lenses. It must have seemed strange to live from the perspective of love in a world that was used to living in alienation. It must have been disorienting to include the outcast and the marginalized in the fellowship of the church. But this is what the Easter community did, and its witness was powerful. The world stood in awe as it watched a community of love live its life with redemptive acts of service and inclusion. Such a community was a new reality that embraced a way of living that others had never imagined.
The story continues as Easter people put on their new lenses and dare to live the way of love in a world of alienation and hurt. We are people of new perspective. We have seen what God has done in Jesus Christ. We no longer live in fear; rather, with radical love we go forth to practice the perspective of love as we follow the way and example of our risen Lord.
The church has to put on its Easter glasses and see life from the perspective of the resurrection. We are the people who dare to live the hope that other people believe can never be realized. From the Easter perspective, we live the “as if” principle. That is, we live “as if” the world has more love than it does, “as if” there is more hope than people are willing to embrace, “as if” the kingdom of God can reign on the earth today.
Our Easter glasses also give us the holy boldness to ask “What if?” What if every child had a warm, safe place to sleep? What if there was enough food for every person on this earth? What if we all lived from a sense of abundance rather than scarcity? What if today all the killing of all the wars stopped?
It all starts with vision, with perspective. Have the right perspective and you live the right life. Our perspective is Easter. “Through him you have come to trust in God, who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are set on God” (1 Peter 1:21). We are the people of Easter whose vision has been forever corrected by what God has done in Jesus Christ our Lord.