Alleluia. Christ is Risen!
It always strikes me as an odd quirk of human nature that as a class humans put huge amounts of energy into denying the existence of God when in the same breath we humans so desperately seek God and fervently wish that God might exist, might intervene, might care. Sometimes I wonder: Is not that thinking the ultimate hypocrisy of human nature in this 21st century? Deny God’s existence and then blame Him that for our blindness we fail to see when He shows up?
We gather this morning to assert that not only does God exist, but that God has a plan. We gather this morning to assert that God has acted definitively in human history, and that God continues to act in human history. We gather to assert that the Resurrection of Jesus was one such a moment that God acted in human history to redeem the experience of human life and to save us from sin and death.
We all know that some twenty-one centuries have come and gone since the discovery of the empty tomb of our Lord Jesus Christ.
And, I am certain that since that Sunday of the Resurrection which we know as Easter Day, until this time, there have been many efforts to discredit the claims of Jesus’ resurrection. What we probably don’t know is that these are not just efforts stemming from our time. Throughout time many have wondered:
Is there not a simple and plausible explanation for the Resurrection? Isn’t there some explanation of it from the human point of view? Those theories promulgated by the Sanhedrin, the Gnostics, and the Docetists, all of them persist from antiquity to contemporary times. So many are beguiled every time one of these surfaces. Maybe there is something to that Da Vinci Code, as Dan Brown suggested. And so we wonder and struggle, and struggle and wonder yet some more about the Good News of God in Jesus Christ because when you come down to it the Resurrection of Jesus is too overwhelming and too awesome a concept for us to grasp.
Or Maybe as we wonder about all this, the most plausible explanation was what we are told from the first: that God was in Christ, reconciling the world to Himself. That is, of course the best explanation of them all. Because when you think about it, It has the ring of truth. And it is that truth that we assert this morning that Jesus Christ is raised from the dead.
It might occur to us on this Holy Day:
1. We would be better served if we took seriously this profound truth of the New Testament that God was in Christ, reconciling the world to himself.
2. As we live in the era of the out pouring of the power and the grace of the Holy Spirit, that the Holy Spirit dwells within you testifies to the truth and the power of the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus.
3. While we celebrate the Resurrection of the Lord Jesus, we are invited to focus on the ways in which our lives show forth the presence of the Holy Spirit in that attribute that we might call “Christlikeness.”
4. The record of the New Testament is that we are even now held in eternal life by the mystical action of God. That through Christ, we are dead and buried and raised with him: for in Adam all die, all are made alive in Jesus Christ, as we just heard in the Epistle this morning.
We are reminded of these things in the passage Colossians 3.3 in which we are encouraged to “keep setting our minds on the things from above, where Christ is, setting our minds on the things that are above, not the things of earth, for you have died and your life is hidden with Christ in God. . .therefore put on the new self—who is being renewed in the true knowledge and the image of the one who created you.
Momentarily we will come to the renewal of our baptismal vows. As we do so, let it be with the full awareness of the life of the Spirit within each of you. Do so with the full recognition that when we celebrate that Christ is Risen, we are not merely celebrating how a tomb was discovered once that was empty; we rather are celebrating the fullness of the conversion of our lives in a dynamic way for Christ is also alive in each of you.