2 May 2017
It’s often said that we are an “Easter people.” And that’s true; our lives should be characterized by a profound sense of joy and hope, rooted in the Resurrection of Jesus. We are an “Easter people.” But, at the same time, we’re also a “Lenten people.” Even in the middle of Easter, we’re still reminded that our hope for ourselves isn’t entirely fulfilled—I mean, none of us is in endless bliss of heaven . . . yet. We’re on our way, but we’re not there yet.
And that’s a reason why each Sunday we make a profession of faith. It isn’t enough to just profess that once and be done with it. We have to be reminded week after week what it is that we believe, and why we believe. It’s a reason why we come to the Altar of God again and again and again, day after day. It’s why we go to confession—not just once, but whenever we need it. We’re on our way to fully resurrected life, but we’re not there yet.
Our psalm today (and really, all of the readings) focuses on the prayer: “Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.” And it’s a beautiful prayer—a short prayer, but a beautiful one. And it would be wonderful if we could pray this prayer from the depths of our heart, and it would stick! It would be wonderful!
I mean, this is a beautiful prayer for someone about to enter into heaven: “Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.” And we can picture the Lord saying in reply, “Well done, my good and faithful servant...Come, share your master’s joy” [Mt 25:23]. It would be great if we could just live that prayer definitively, once and for all time. Of course, that’s our hope. That’s our hope as an Easter people.
But we’re not there just yet. And so, we pray again and again, “Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.” Every time we sin, we get up again, turn to the Lord and say, “Into your hands, I commend my spirit.” Every time we realize (again) that we’ve neglected our prayer life, we get back on track and say, “Into your hands, Lord, I commend my spirit.”
We’re an “Easter people,” for sure. We live with joy and the hope of heaven. But we’re not there just yet. And so, we turn to prayer again and again and again until, someday, our Easter hope is fulfilled. Until we can say for the last time, “Into your hands, O Lord, I commend my spirit.”