Why talking about resurrection matters in the modern world
It is just a few days until Good Friday and Easter, the highest of the Christian holy days. Just a few days, yet there is barely a whisper of resurrection on the street. There are lots of bunnies and eggs, 18th Century European traditions that reflect our pagan rather than Christian heritage. Easter parades are intentionally empty of any spiritual meaning. And the high school scheduled a make-up tennis match for Friday afternoon. Of all places, MacDonald’s might make the biggest cultural accommodation to faith – the fast food giant orders extra fish during lent.
Even pastors can fall into the “name that womb, name that tomb” trap of holiday preaching – something new is born in us at Christmas, something in us dies at Good Friday, and something comes to life in us at Easter. Fuzzy and warm sentiments, kind of like bunnies and pastel eggs, are nice, but they miss the point of Easter. It’s about Jesus’ resurrection. Resurrection means that Jesus wins, that God’s promises are true, that hope is real and that we will follow Jesus in resurrection living:
But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep. . . . For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. (1 Corinthians 15:20,22)
We bring this message of resurrection to the world, even as this week is declared “Earth Week” and the kids hunt eggs and eat chocolate bunnies. Without the warm fuzzies, Hallmark will be out of business, but without the resurrection “we are to be pitied more than all men.” (1 Corinthians 15:19)
Of the miracles in God’s story, resurrection is the one we take to the streets. I don’t start the skeptic on whether Jonah was swallowed by a great fish, and the incarnation is terribly difficult to prove. But resurrection is public. The cross and the empty tomb demand explanation, and the church is the place for the answer. As Peter preached on Pentecost, “God has raised this Jesus to life, and we are all witnesses of the fact.” (Acts 3:32)
The cross and the resurrection are the heart of our message and our living. To steal from Linus, that’s what Easter is all about.
With you in on the mission, Pastor Doug Fakkema, Anacortes CRC