Easter has come and gone. How do you remember it? For me, the Easter celebrations at Westside continue to carry resonance. What a great weekend it was as Friday we looked intently into the meaning of Jesus’ death for us, and then on Sunday celebrated his resurrection and the life we now share in him. I have been around the Easter story all of my life, of course, and so have you. But this year was particularly important to me. Somehow I paid attention.
At the risk of appearing to be cliché, I have been carrying the thought that life is fundamentally different because of Easter. Life and death, meaning and hope; all has been redefined. Perhaps that goes without saying; perhaps I have rubbed our collective noses in the obvious. But I just can’t help it this year. I am genuinely moved by the story we have just rehearsed, the story of resurrection.
Death swallowed by triumphant Life! Who got the last word, oh, Death? Oh, Death, who's afraid of you now? [1 Corinthians 15:55, The Message Bible]
These poetic lines come at the close of Paul’s well-reasoned defense and explanation of the resurrection of Jesus in 1 Corinthians 15. They remind me by their very form that a statement on resurrection is not complete without some kind of visceral connection to the truth of what is being claimed. They remind me that a punctuated expression of wonder -- a poetic rendering of “well how about that!” -- is the only way we that really get it. After all, Jesus has “destroyed death and has brought life and immortality to light” (2 Timothy 1:10). There is no kind of proper language to respond. One just gushes, that’s all.
This past Easter I have been reminded that my sometimes blasé attitude is just not Christian enough, and that when I am dull I am not getting it. Jesus has entered into the biggest challenge of human existence -- death itself -- and taken the sting out of it. That ought to move me. Not that all we wait and hope for has come to us -- not yet -- but the triumph of Jesus at Easter means that life carries a fearless and deep-down joyful sense to it. At least it ought to.
Do I still carry sorrow at times? Do I still trudge the earth in frustration at times, as I wait for the final movement of this resurrection story? Yes I do. My emotions, my connection to resurrection is not yet complete. And death remains of course, but only as a shadow. What lingers with me today is that the dread of death no longer hangs over us. I can honestly repeat the line we read above: “Oh, Death, who’s afraid of you now?”
This Sunday we begin a new series we are titling Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For: Colossians and the Suburban Dream. We think it will be a relevant way to dive into a helpful Scripture text while also doing a little spring cleaning in our imaginations.
He is risen, he is risen indeed. Now how does that affect suburban life?
See you this Sunday at 9:20 or 11:11 am.