Christ is risen! Christ is risen indeed!
Christ IS risen, not Christ has risen or was risen. He is risen. Present tense. Right now. Today. We acknowledge and celebrate that every Sunday during worship, not just on Easter Sunday. Every Sunday is a mini-Easter because without Christ’s resurrection, there is no salvation. Jesus’ story does not end on the cross or in the tomb and I hope our faith does not stop there either, that even though the cross has been the main symbol of our faith since the 4th century, we remember that it is an empty cross as well as an empty tomb. Death did not have the last word then, it does not have the last word now, and it will not have the last word ever.
As Christians, we have been baptized into Christ’s death and resurrection, into God’s victory over evil, suffering, destruction, violence, and death, and also into God’s reign of love, liberation, restoration, and life abundant. That means that the former things have no hold on us or on the world, even though at times it feels like they do. For us the worst thing is never the last thing. The worst thing that happens in our lives will never be the last thing that happens.
As resurrection people, we not only experience resurrection, we also are tasked with helping to bring it about, with choosing life over death, whenever possible. We do that in many ways as individuals and as a community – by constructing a new church building when the previous one was destroyed, by forgiving instead of holding a grudge when we have been hurt, by seeking forgiveness and making amends when we have hurt another, by speaking words of kindness instead of words of criticism, by offering compassion instead of judgement and so much more.
Anytime we choose to respond with love, we participate in resurrection. Yet, it takes faith and courage to do so in a world that makes it acceptable to be apathetic, indifferent, or downright cruel. Being resurrection people can be hard work and it will likely transform us and our behavior in ways that make us unrecognizable to those who know us, just like the risen Christ was unrecognizable to Mary at the tomb and later to the two disciples who were walking on the road to Emmaus.
Living as resurrection people transforms us and in turn our relationships, our community, and our world. Here at E&R you have been living as resurrection people for well over a hundred years in countless ways. I am confident you will continue to do so and that in this season of Eastertide you will find God calling you to new forms of resurrection. Because Christ is risen! Christ is risen indeed!