Life After Resurrection
I love Easter Sunday in worship. The music is beautiful and uplifting. The church is full with members and visitors. All the flowers make for a beautiful sanctuary. Having that time in our service when so many people come forward to sing the Hallelujah Chorus from Handel’s Messiah with our choir is just soul-stirring. And in our church this year, we had the tremendous bonus of having that wonderful liturgical art piece appear for the first time on Easter Sunday morning. Easter, and the worship service that Sunday morning, is inspiring to me.
But then what? We don’t live on Easter Sunday every day. Once Easter is past, do things simply revert to the same old world? Or does the fact that Jesus was raised from death change things for us? John Buchanan is the editor of Christian Century Magazine and the former Senior Pastor at Fourth Presbyterian Church in Chicago. He wrote an editorial in the April 18, 2012 issue of Christian Century which touched on these questions. The following is part of what he said.
Eastertide (the whole season of Easter) is for the exploration and consideration of worldview-changing realities…. We are left, as were Jesus’ disciples, with the meanings and implications of what happened and the sense that nothing can ever be the same. What does it mean to live in a world in which a resurrection happened? For one thing, we live with the proclamation that goodness and truth are not ultimately overwhelmed by evil and untruth, regardless of what is transpiring at any particular historical moment.
There are days when that sounds far-fetched, unrealistic and naïve. Reality in this world is the murder of 17 Afghan adults and children by a profoundly disturbed American soldier, or the killing of a 17-year-old black youth by a neighborhood vigilante whose act is backed by a Florida law that justifies shooting in response to any perceived threat of violence, or the threat of Iran apparently creating nuclear weapons even as it trumpets the vilest anti-Semitism, or of Israel considering a pre-emptive strike that would precipitate a much wider conflict, while its lethal occupation of Palestine goes to the back burner. It takes a strong faith, or foolish naiveté, to keep working for peace, justice and reconciliation.
When Jesus died on Good Friday, his followers lost that faith. Until Jesus’ death, they had begun to think that what he was saying and doing was good and true; that contrary to conventional wisdom, peacemakers, the meek and the seekers after goodness were the blessed and truly happy ones. They had begun to believe that it is better to give than to receive, that forgiveness is always better than retaliation, that in order to live fully one has to find ways to give of one’s life, and that including the outcast and the marginalized is better than excluding them – all of that was shattered when the powers of the world decided that Jesus should be crucified.
Political and religious authority demonstrated the world’s reality – that Jesus was unrealistic, dangerous and should be eliminated for the good of all. But then came a resurrection! For the disciples, this meant that his ideas were true, that working for their realization would always be holy work, work worth living and dying for.
Everything is different because we now live in a world where death did not have the final word, where truth and goodness and love are the final realities, where a resurrection happened.
Posted on April 24, 2012 at 11:19 am in Featured Content.