Alleluia! Christ is Risen! -- The Lord is risen indeed, Alleluia!
On Good Friday, we remembered the agony, shame and sufferings of Christ's terrestrial existence. After he died, he was buried and left in the tomb for the completion of the burial rite after the Sabbath. I'll be the first to admit, Christianity requires a lot of buy-in. The Christian faith tells us that the divine loved humanity so much, that he sent his only son, to live as one of us, to shake up the first century world, and to be murdered. Then -- it gets better. Jesus was murdered and has been resurrected and got out of a grave? No wonder people tend to look at Christians as if we're a little off our rocker. That's some hard stuff for anyone to take in. My Christianity is as much a part of my identity as my nationality, race and last name. The Christian story of love and redemption is a difficult one to grasp, which leaves, even its most seasoned and learned adherents frequently questioning at length. My favorite resurrection account comes from the Gospel of Luke.
"But on the first day of the week, at early dawn, they came to the tomb, taking the spices that they had prepared. They found the stone rolled away from the tomb, but when they went in, they did not find the body.While they were perplexed about this, suddenly two men in dazzling clothes stood beside them. The women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen. Remember how he told you, while he was still in Galilee, that the Son of Man must be handed over to sinners, and be crucified, and on the third day rise again.” Then they remembered his words, and returning from the tomb, they told all this to the eleven and to all the rest. Now it was Mary Magdalene, Joanna, Mary the mother of James, and the other women with them who told this to the apostles. But these words seemed to them an idle tale, and they did not believe them. But Peter got up and ran to the tomb; stooping and looking in, he saw the linen cloths by themselves; then he went home, amazed at what had happened." Luke 24:1-12
The first time I recall hearing this gospel preached, was by my former pastor, The Reverend Kimberly Lucas. I want to pose the same question to you that Jesus posed to the women, as well as Rev. Kim to the parishioners of St. Ambrose Episcopal Church. "Why do you look for the living among the dead?" Each day we awaken into the glory of God. We are blessed with another opportunity to make a difference, to be a blessing to someone, to walk and talk with a stranger or friend. At the same time, we are in a quandary of life and death. We are walking into the new life that God through Christ has given us, but simultaneously trying to resuscitate the dead things that the Holy Spirit has liberated us from. Why are we chasing the dead things that have us bound? The failed relationship? The lost job or home? The hurts from the past, mingled with anger, bitterness and resentfulness? Why are we looking for new life in this valley of death and dry bones?
Beloved, the resurrection of Christ sealed the deal on an eternal kinship and adoption made centuries before our existence. We are the beloved of God. Because Jesus got up, we can too. Our despair can arise into joy, our strife can be turned into unity, our bitterness and hatred into love and reconciliation. Why do you look for the living among the dead? As the old song reminds us, because Jesus lives, we can face tomorrow, all fear is gone and we know who holds the future. Life is worth the living because HE lives in and through each of us. Alleluia! Christ is Risen within YOU!