Alleluia! Christ is risen! Easter is here, and with it our celebration of God’s victory over sin and death – the resurrection of our Lord. Aside from our Easter Sunday celebration though, with the flowers, the music, the candy, the dinner… I am wondering what the day-to-day significance of this season is for us. This is our primary festival as Christians: people gathered to witness to and be in the presence of the risen Christ. What does that mean for us? I have a few ideas I’d like to share with you.
- The resurrection is not expected. Despite Jesus’ repeated predictions and statements about his death and resurrection, his closest loved ones go to the tomb Easter morning expecting to find death. With heavy and broken hearts, they prepare themselves to face the inevitable death of this world that leaves no room for hope. To encounter Jesus raised and present among them then, must have filled them with joy and hope. Death and the powers of sin in the world did not have the final say. God’s love and promise of life did. We similarly do not always expect to find abundant life and hope in our own lives and world. Despite God’s promises of life and love for us, death, and the power of sin in our world cause us to doubt, to fear, and to be hopeless. We live in a world that is dying. Where suffering is a reality for many and all things inevitably pass away. Resurrection then, is our hope that even in the midst of that, God is making all things new. God is bringing new life out of the death in our world. We rejoice in our experience of the resurrection, first in our encounter of Christ in bread and wine and word – the same Christ that died, risen and present among us – and then seeing God’s power to bring life and hope in the face of the sin and death in our world. The resurrection is how we see and hope in God’s salvation at work all around us in the world.
- The resurrection calls us into the world, not to ignore it. In Matthew, Mark, and Luke, Jesus is not found at the empty tomb. Instead, messengers proclaim to the disciples that he is not here, he has been raised as he said and he is going ahead of you and will meet you. Jesus meets the disciples (and us) in the world. We will find him, not at the empty tomb, but at work in the world. The resurrection calls us to care about the world in which we live, not abandon it. As resurrection people, we advocate for peace and justice and care for our neighbors and communities, because that is where we encounter the risen Christ.
- The resurrection reveals a God who loves, knows, and calls us by name. In John’s Gospel, Mary Magdalene meets Jesus in a garden, but doesn’t recognize him. She mistakes him for the gardener. She is crying, mourning the loss of her dear friend without realizing he is right in front of her! She cannot recognize him until he calls her by name: “Mary.” Immediately she falls into his embrace (one of my favorite moments of scripture!) Unfortunately, a popular perception of God in today’s culture is that God is distant and disconnected from our lives. Watching from afar in the clouds or the heavens. The resurrection story shows us that this couldn’t be further from the truth. Jesus depicts a God who knows us intimately, walks with us along our paths, and shares our joys and sorrows.
My prayer is that you will know the joy of the resurrection in your own life this season. I hope this story can shape your life in such a way that you can see God’s power to bring love and hope into the world all around you.
Peace be with you.