Resurrection Happens

IMG_1444Easter is a very conflicted occasion.

  • Pagan festivals and church processions.
  • Eggs and crosses.
  • Bunnies and burials.
  • Lilies and grave clothes.
  • Chocolate and empty tombs.

Then there is the question of reality–did Jesus really rise from the dead? Is there evidence beyond the Bible for this supernatural event? Is Scriptural evidence sufficient?

Regardless of our responses to these questions, there is a broader question that we ought to be asking: Is thee a wider truth that we can draw from the Easter story that speaks to us on a more universal, meaningful level?

Listen to the words of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus: “We had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel.” 

It doesn’t take that much imagination to put ourselves into the story of these disciples. “We had hoped. Our dreams were in him. Our future was in his hands. Now he’s gone.”

Are you feeling hopeless today? Do you feel that you cannot go on? Is the burden you carry great, and the pain too intense? Is the healing just not happening, the sorrow too much for you?

Here is the truth of Easter: God is in the resurrection business. 

The very first words of Scripture speak of God making new life out of chaos. The creation poem tells us that God spoke there was light.  The waters separated (the ancients believed above the sky was a water-dome called in Genesis ‘the firmament’). The dry land appeared. Fish and animals, human beings, plants and trees all came into being out of the chaos of ‘the deep.’

Some of the last words in Scripture state in simple words God’s grand plan: “Behold I make all things new.” From the chaos this world has become, resurrection will happen and new life–a renewed creation–will spring forth.

Whether or not we believe in a literal resurrection should not prevent us from drawing deeper meaning from this widely-accepted Christian narrative.

Resurrection–new life–is happening around us every day. It’s never too late to begin again. God is even now, in all-embracing love and grace, making all things new.

And this can be true for you too.

There is hope. The power of Christ’s resurrection is at work. The Spirit of God is moving amongst your chaos, speaking light into darkness, strength into weakness and new life into hopelessness.

Resurrection happens! 

And resurrection can happen for you.

Change

“Perhaps the greatest obstacle to human transformation isn’t our inability to change but the unwillingness of others to believe our transformation is possible.” – Philip Gulley

I overheard someone recently talking about a man I once knew. They were describing him as a wonderful man, generous, humble, caring, and just an all-’round nice guy. When I discovered about whom they were speaking, I was astounded. Somewhere in the distant past I remembered him being a heavy drinker, able to swear up a storm (when drunk) but otherwise (eerily) aloof. I had recollections of gossip that had been circulating about the person in question spending time in newsagents, drooling over  pictures of who-knows-what in men’s quasi-pornographic magazines. This man didn’t care much for his family, he would be the type society would expect to be lurking just outside school grounds–not one who would ever darken the door of a church.

I would never have believed this man could have changed, especially so dramatically.

How often is it that we come across a person many years after we first met them and find out they are a totally different person than we remembered?

St Paul wrote to the Corinthian church about those who were immoral, swindlers, drunkards, prostitutes, pedophiles.slanderers, greed-driven extortioners. What he says next may surprise anyone who knew them as such:

 And that is what some of you were. But you were washed, you were sanctified, you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ and by the Spirit of our God. (1 Coritnthians 6:11, TNIV)

He testifies to the change in them. People who met them today wouldn’t know they were once an addict, once a sex worker, once an embezzler. They have been cleansed of their past. An encounter with the living God has changed them and changed their identity.

People change.

Imagine with me how our world would be truly transformed if we find ourselves willing to admit this fact and recognise this awesome potential in every person we come across every day.
Imagine how we would live in a world where judgement is replaced by a deep awareness of the possibility that the person we are condemning may one day be a genuinely remarkable human being with a heart of compassion, grace and humility. Imagine a world where forgiveness flows freely and love replaces fear and disdain because we realise that we are all broken people who are, in some way, on the path to renewal.

Imagine if we realised fully how capable we ourselves are of change. Maybe–just possibly–we need to change before we’ll truly see this potential in others.