Wrestling with Resurrection

gears 2How confusing it all must have been for the earliest followers of Jesus. Imagine them trying to make sense of a stone rolled away, the floor littered with embalming linens. Imagine Mary’s voice strained with fear saying, “They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we do not know where they have put him.”  They didn’t get it, not really. John reminds us, “As yet they did not understand the scripture, that he must rise from the dead” (Read the whole story in John 20:1-9).

John says, “as yet.” Do you think he means to suggest that the faithful did come to fully understand the resurrection? Could they explain it?  Can any of us make that claim? So many questions go unanswered. How did it work? What does it look like? How different was he after? How different will I be?

I’m convinced that the disciples never really understood, thought they did come to believe that Jesus’s shameful death and his rising again was a new beginning for the whole world. They did come to trust that Easter morning changed everything for everyone for all time.

Two thousand years later, how far we have [not] come.  I’m a minister, and I don’t really understand the resurrection. I wish I did, and sometimes it bugs me how little I “get” of it all. I take some comfort in knowing that wisest people I know don’t really “get it” either. We profess, as did the disciples before us, that Easter was and is the rekindling of our hope and the triumph of our God. Just as those who came before us, we don’t understand, but we do believe. We see God’s love for us revealed here more than any other way.

Love never ends. But as for prophecies, they will come to an end; as for tongues, they will cease; as for knowledge, it will come to an end.  For we know only in part, and we prophesy only in part;  but when the complete comes, the partial will come to an end.  When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways.  For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. -1 Corinthians 13:8-12

We trust in God’s goodness, love and mercy, all of which we can only truly comprehend in murky light of Jesus’ resurrection. We celebrate that we have been changed by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, even as we struggle to absorb that truth.

Maybe that’s the best news that we celebrate this Easter seasgarden-tomb-door2on.

He is risen, and my understanding of it and my ability to explain it are irrelevant.

He is risen!

He is risen!



Who Would Have Thought?

Banks-Long-hours-detailWho would have thought that God’s amazing love would look like this: a friend betrayed, a scapegoat accused, a Son rejected? Certainly not us. Not us, who are so distracted, so ‘busy.’ Not us, who are the ones for whom it all happened.

This Holiest Week, we are called to remember.  (Isaiah 53)

Who has believed what we have heard?

he had no form or majesty that we should look at him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him.

He was despised and rejected by others; a man of suffering* and acquainted with infirmity; and as one from whom others hide their faces*  he was despised, and we held him of no account.

Surely he has borne our infirmities and carried our diseases; yet we accounted him stricken, struck down by God, and afflicted.  But he was wounded for our transgressions, crushed for our iniquities; upon him was the punishment that made us whole, and by his bruises we are healed.

All we like sheep have gone astray; we have all turned to our own way, and the Lord has laid on him the iniquity of us all.

We are convicted by and for our selfishness, but remain among God’s beloved. How? Why?  We must hear again the truth:  that the Lord heaped our sins, our evil upon Jesus, and that Jesus was punished horribly for it.

We must admit, acknowledge these days. We are sinful.  We are wrong.  We deserved much, and Christ took it on.  Until we do, Easter celebrations will ring hollow.

Come remember with us and worship at 7:00pm Maundy Thursday, or online at www.fpcandersonsc.com.  Worship and remember with us at Central Presbyterian Church at 7:00pm Good Friday.