When you woke up this morning, was your first thought the thought of the resurrection of Christ? I doubt it. And yesterday, did you think at all about the resurrection? Chances are, no. And tomorrow, what are the odds that you’ll think about the resurrection in the middle of the day? Slim to none, I would venture.
That’s the odd thing about the resurrection of Christ and our day to day lives. The resurrection is absolutely central to our life as Christians, and yet rarely do we think about it. Without Easter there would be no church, no Christians, no Christmas (or after Christmas sales), no anything as far as Christianity is concerned, yet resurrection is pretty much confined to one day — one morning, really — and funerals, of course.
And maybe one reason is that resurrection seems to have so little to do with our day to day lives. It’s something for the end of life, we think, not life now; it has to do with life after death, we believe, not life before death. And really, what does the resurrection have to do with holding down a job, or worrying if you’ll have a job, graduating from college or paying for college, worrying about the bills or worrying about how long your retirement funds will last, raising children, having a little peace at the dinner table, dating, marriage, relationships, divorce, surviving at the office, the evening news, violence and war, the battles within and all the rest?
Well, the resurrection has everything to do with such things, It has everything to do with life now, life before death, our day to day lives and this dark and dangerous world in which we live. Because the resurrection has to do with hope.
We live in a world in which fear has become our constant companion. Fear of terrorists, fear of unemployment, fear of aging, fear of disease and death, fear of those
different from us, fear of crime and violence, fear of the unknown — more than we realize, such fears control our lives and shape our decisions. And to make it worse, politicians play up our fears to gain our support and get our votes; news broadcasts heighten our fears by means of the stories they choose to run; even churches employ fear — so much of religion today has to do with whom and what we should fear. Listen to others, listen to yourself: there is so much fear in the words we hear and speak, so much despair really, so little of hope.
And that is why if ever we need to hear and think about the proclamation of Easter day after day, it is now. Because the power of the resurrection is the one power, the only power, that is a match for our world and our day to day lives. It is the one power, the only power, that can enable us to live with hope, to live strong and brave and glad no matter what. For the resurrection of Christ proclaims the power of God to work life out of defeat, even death; to work new beginnings out of hard, painful endings; to work new possibilities out of what is wrecked and ruined.
To believe in the resurrection, to live out of the power of the resurrection, is to be able to lift up our heads each day and look for the new thing God can work, is working even now, in our lives and world. As strange as it may sound, if I didn't believe in the resurrection, I couldn’t get out of bed every morning. Without the resurrection, I would have no hope of a new day, a new kind of life, a new kind of world. Without the resurrection, with only the words of politicians and news broadcasters and talk-show hosts and many popular religious figures and their followers to go by, I’d want only to pull the covers up over my head and sleep on. Without the resurrection, there is only fear, and the same old lives and world day after day.
In a few weeks we will celebrate Easter and on one morning, at least, resurrection will be our first thought. To make it our first thought each and very morning could make each and every day something like Easter: days of hope, possibility, joy!
God be with you,