Sunday, April 8, 2012

The Culmination of a Scandal...

Easter is the day when Christians celebrate the decisive point of God's victorious action for the created world: the bodily resurrection of Jesus Christ.  It is the central event of our faith, and the 'firstfruits', as Scripture explains, of what is to come, on the day when all creation will be reconciled to God.  How this happens, we don't really know, but, after all, we don't really understand how the resurrection happens either.  We simply trust that the resurrection of the dead is a reality, and that it finds its archetypal expression in Jesus' resurrection.

But Easter is also the culmination of a scandal - the scandal of Christ's passion, wherein he was betrayed, abandoned, tortured, and finally killed... all because human beings couldn't understand what God was, and is, trying to do.  And, it seems that things really aren't that different today.  Often, most people -- including we who call ourselves Christians -- really don't understand just what God is trying to do.  We develop all sorts of systems and patterns by which we attempt to figure things out, but at the end of the day, we are still left with a lot of uncertainty as to how the plan will actually unfold, and even as to what the plan actually is.

This is one reason why I love Easter: it reminds me that I don't have to know all the specifics of God's plan, or how it works.  What God asks of me is to place my faith in the hope of the resurrection.  It's a bizarre thing, to be sure, a belief that all death will be overcome through the victory over death of a Jewish man who lived 2,000 years ago, but it is also a source of immense transformative power.  For, after all, in a basic sense, that is the plan -- to see all of creation transformed from that which is slowly dying, and becoming chaotic, empty, and nothing, into that which is alive, restored, full of all that is true and good.

And this, I believe, is the answer to the question: 'What is God doing?'  God is, somehow, transforming reality from death to life -- even though death is unavoidable.  The hope of such transformation may seem wishful folly, but I am continuing to hope in it nonetheless, in part because it reminds me that I also have a part to play in the process of transformation.  I can bring the resurrection into people's lives each day.  I can treat other human beings (indeed, all of creation) as worthy of restoration and life, and I can impart hope, even if only in small ways, to the world.

It is not easy, and it is not always easy to believe that any transformation is taking place.  But on Easter, I am reminded of the hope that I profess, a hope that says new life is possible, and that it is available to everyone, and I can provide a taste of that life when I live as Jesus lived.  My prayer for this Easter, and every day of my life, is that I will be, by God's grace, able to share a glimpse of resurrection with everyone I meet.  Amen.

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