- Today in Saint Elizabeth Ann Seton
- Easter Sunday of the Resurrection of the Lord
- 21 April 2019
The Christian belief in, and celebration of, the Resurrection of the Lord is all about God’s Plan for the creation that we all too often experience as fallen. We have testimony of the Plan in the Hebrew Scriptures and the Christian witness. The Bible is replete with numerous examples of the plans of the nations to erect towers and conquer peoples. Although the original Plan was good, there were forces that conspired through ignorance or design to confound the Plan the Creator had in mind. The death and slavery intended by kings and pharaohs was repeatedly confounded by the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. The plans of empires were frustrated and shaped by the God who created life and liberty. Through the patriarchs and prophets, the will of God was revealed to those who had the eyes to see and the ears to hear. Egypt and Syria, Babylon and Persia, Greece and Rome, were all subject to God’s Plan without even realizing it. All of this and more has been testified over the millennia and written into the history of our human experience.
From the Christian perspective, the story of Easter is the culmination of God’s Plan for creation. It is the revelation of a new heaven and a new earth as the destiny of humanity. Through the Paschal Mystery…the Passion, Death and Resurrection of Jesus Christ…the history of the universe is transformed into a Kingdom of justice, love and peace. It is a vision that has always been out of reach for human beings because of our pride and selfishness. Now the action of God, in the person of Jesus Christ, has changed human history forever and lifted us from slavery into liberty, from death into life. It is a plan that has always eluded us despite our best, and worst, efforts. Easter is the story of God’s Plan coming to fulfillment in ways that we could not even imagine or comprehend. Through the miracle of conversion…now… we have been gifted with the capacity to not only embrace the Plan, but to become an active part of it! God’s thoughts are not our thoughts and God’s plans are not our plans. The miracle takes place when what we consider to be unplanned is actually experienced as the providence of God at work in human history. God can breathe in death and breathe out life.
The story of Abby Johnson is a vivid example of the miracle of God’s Plan overtaking our assumptions and perspectives. “Unplanned” is a film that graphically describes the conversion of a high profile Planned Parenthood clinic director in Texas. After being a very successful administrator and advocate for abortion rights, Abby was suddenly shaken to the core when her assistance was required during an ultrasound-guided abortion. The film begins with this gruesome scene and then flashes back to the years of education, experience and training her journey into the abortion industry required prior to the moment of her conversion; but the “St. Paul” moment she faced was not without some preliminary preparation. She had already come into contact with some of the doubt that compromises the truth and she had confronted the witness of friends and family to prepare the ground for a new vision. The experience of actually participating in the death of a child exposed her to the intellectual, psychological and emotional horror that shattered her spirit. Actress Ashley Bratcher managed to portray the human person of Abby Johnson as a woman who could no longer hide or deny the truth of her experience. It was a 180o turn that took her into the heart of the Right to Life movement as a powerful new advocate for God’s Plan. Although “Unplanned” is not a film I would care to watch again, I would strongly recommend that this contemporary testimony of a former Planned Parenthood director be placed alongside the numerous other disciples that the amazing grace of God has saved and who continues to convert our hardened hearts into fearless instruments of the Truth (John 3:16).
“God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him may not die but may have eternal life.”