Alleluia. Christ is Risen.
The Lord is Risen indeed. Alleluia.
This has always intrigued me. In scripture, God always speaks the language of positivity and the language of hope.
Even at those moments such as one encounters with the prophets, where there is that dark and angry tone of excoriating judgment, there is always a note of hope. Even when it is not likely that his people will either hear or heed his voice, there is always that subcontext of God who created all things in love. While God may be angry or frustrated with his people, it does not seem to be in his character to hate them. So even those prophets whose message was so strident, there is that note of compassion: “if only my people would listen to me.” “if only they would turn with new hearts.” “if only they would follow and obey my commandments.” “if only they would be my people and if only they would let me by their God.”
Over the years it has been the task of preachers on this happy Easter morning to try to persuade people that the resurrection of Jesus is real. And of course there are a number of resurrection appearances of our Risen Lord recorded in the New Testament; most of them are not private audiences but involve two or more witnesses. Those appearances have a weight of authenticy about them. They are credible, if for no other reason, no one makes up a tale about someone being raised from the dead—and if they had concocted such a tale, who among them would endure the suffering and painful deaths that all the apostles endured (except John). They would have folded—changed their story—as part of a plea deal. But they didn’t. And that in itself testifies to the truth. It makes no sense from human experience; Easter, this day of Resurrection, while incomprehensible from from the human point of view, teaches us
· that God is greater than the human point of view,
· that the power of God is greater than all things in heaven and earth
· that in the face of all things broken in the world, God was in Christ, reconciling all things to himself.
· That the love of God is greater than the hatred of the world.
That our Lord’s message to the disciples, “be of good cheer, for I have overcome the world,” is just as applicable today as it was then.
When we live fully in the power and the promise of Jesus’ resurrection, things change.
· We are no longer held prisoner by the fear that is in the world,
· We are no longer, chained by the negativity that grips people’s lives, and institutions and systems,
· We can give up what I call the little liturgy of the wringing of the hands over the dismal prospects of a bleak future, because we can come to trust in Him who promises, “Behold, I make all things, New.
· We are no longer consumed by the pettiness that is the hallmark of the press and grind of daily life, because we know that we dwell in the grace of God in Jesus Christ.
· We can fully live in the vision of this morning’s epistle, for if we have truly set our minds on the things that are above, and not the things on earth, we will be continually renewed by the way in which our life is hidden—that’s to say covered, protected and enfolded, with Christ in God.
Here’s the mistake that most people make: the resurrection of Jesus is not an intellectual proposition. It is not a time worn, outdated dogma of the Church. And we need to quit acting as though it were those things. The celebration of Jesus’ resurrection is a proclamation about a dynamic relationship with the living Lord Jesus Christ that transforms life wondrously.
Alleluia. Christ is Risen.
The Lord is Risen indeed.