He is risen! He is risen indeed! ALLELUIA!!
Happy Spring to all of my brothers and sisters in Christ!
Every once and a while it feels like God is trying to hit me over the head with something. Have you ever experienced that? Have you ever noticed times when everywhere you look the same thing keeps popping up…?
Two of the classes that I teach have discussed the resurrection of Jesus this past week, shortly after Easter, and just after showing the movie Risen for our congregation on April 9th. These discussions not only talked about the events that transpired but what this actually meant for the people of that time and what it actually means for us, today! I’m thinking God probably wants me to dwell on this for a while…so I’m inviting you to dwell with me!
I have been very blessed to have been raised in a Christian home, and I know I have that in common with many of you. My entire childhood was littered with opportunities to celebrate Christ’s resurrection – things like worshiping regularly on Sunday mornings with my family, learning at Immanuel Lutheran School, and involvement in many youth activities. All of these things consistently pointed me to the hope and the promise of new life through Christ’s resurrection. Because this has always been part of my life, I don’t really know what it feels like to have one big “Aha!” moment, but I try to put myself into the shoes of others when they first heard or understood this news. It’s been a great exercise in remembering the significance of this beautiful gift and awesome display of God’s powerful love for us. I invite you to take a moment with each of the following questions to really imagine what it would have been like.
Can you imagine…?
Can you imagine watching the man that you’ve grown to love and respect being mutilated and killed? To Mary, the Apostles, and others who were close to Jesus, He was not only the fulfillment of a long-awaited prophecy, but He was a man that they loved. They were powerless to stop these events (though Peter certainly tried with the whole sword-to-ear thing).
Can you imagine what it would have been like to experience the temple curtain being torn in two? That curtain symbolized the people’s sin – making us unworthy of coming into God’s presence. That barrier has been removed!
Can you imagine the fear that enveloped the Apostles that Sabbath day between Jesus’ death and resurrection? How could the man who commanded the wind and the waves be killed by the Chief Priests and the Roman soldiers? Were the soldiers coming for us next? What about all of the amazing things that He taught us and promised us?
Can you imagine coming to the tomb to honor the mortal remains of your friend, but instead being greeted by angels? Talk about emotional whiplash! I cannot begin to fathom what it would be like to experience something so terrifyingly amazing first-hand!
Can you imagine being one of the people telling others the unbelievable news that you just witnessed firsthand? Think about that word: unbelievable–this news defied human logic. This news would make people seem like raving lunatics. This news changes EVERYTHING. This news is what the Jewish people have been waiting to hear for centuries. This news is what the world has been waiting for since God first described His solution for sin to Adam and Even in the garden.
Can you imagine hearing this news for the first time? Would you believe it? Would you question? Would it seem too good to be true? Who would you share the news with, first? Who would you look to for guidance as you explore what this really means?
Can you imagine being given a terminal diagnosis one day, and then waking up with the body of an olympic athlete the next? That’s sort of what it’s like being freed from our bondage from sin but even more so! We go from being completely broken with no hope at all, to being untouchable by death.
Can you imagine feeling unconditional, unwavering, unstoppable, unmeasurable love from the Creator of the Universe? It feels pretty good, doesn’t it?
It’s a lot to take in. It’s a lot to process. It’s a lot! These things may begin to seem normal, or routine, but they are just as meaningful for each and every one of us, today. This resurrection that we celebrate every single Sunday is just as big of a deal as it was when it happened nearly 2000 years ago. So, I invite you to continue dwelling with me in this promise and this hope that we have. I invite you to continue celebrating this defeat of sin and death every single week as we worship together. I invite you to find refuge in the power of your Risen Lord every time Satan tries to steal any of the significance of these events from you. I invite you to shout our victory cry over and over:
He is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!!
Your Sister in Christ,
Tara Darling, DCE