“Christ is Risen!”
As Christians we proclaim that phrase joyfully and boldly – at least at Easter. It is, after all, the central claim of the Christian Church and the central theme of the season that we now enter. In a few weeks though the phrase will be spoken far less often and with less enthusiasm, most often as we dutifully and obediently read it in a Sunday morning church bulletin where the line is in bold and headed by the word “Congregation”. Beyond that, for the greater part of each year the phrase hardly escapes our lips outside the confines of a church sanctuary, because that would be just . . . . . embarrassing now, wouldn’t it? As a pastor I find little more depressing than proclaiming with joy in a church service, “Christ is risen!” and hearing a congregation respond in a flat monotone and with no energy whatsoever, “He is risen indeed.”
Paul boldly proclaims in his letter to the church at Corinth, “If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and your are still in your sins. Then those also who have died in Christ have perished. If for this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.” Friends, if not for the resurrection, then we in the church have little or no purpose at all! The resurrection is what distinguished Jesus from any other scholar or philosophers in his age. The Gospel of John even proclaims even the miracles of Jesus as “signs” that lead us to the power of God made manifest in Christ’s resurrection. Everything leads to, everything points to the resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The Apostle Paul goes on to write in his letter, “But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have died.” In other words, Christ has truly been raised from the dead, and because of that fact we will rise as well. And If I know that I will rise from the dead to a new and joyous life in Christ, then I have no need to fear death nor to fear anything in this world that I might consider “death dealing”. I have that confidence, that victory not because of anything that I have done, but simply because Christ is risen. And my friends if that is not good news, then I don’t know what good news is!
Let us then, both individually and together, be a resurrection people; a people who proclaim boldly that Christ is risen; a people that live without fear, free to give boldly of ourselves in the manner of Jesus Christ our Savior. Let us be a resurrection people beyond Easter Sunday, beyond the Easter season, beyond the confines of a church sanctuary, in every aspect and every moment of our lives. One more time, let the people say (and with gusto!) . . . .
“Christ is risen!”
Grace and peace,