I was reflecting on our Lenten Bible Study “Making Sense of the Cross” by Luther Seminary Professor David Lose. I couldn’t help but think about how important it is for each of us to remember that we – each of us – are made in God’s image. That means that each of us has a unique perspective and understanding of the importance of the Cross – Jesus’ life, death and resurrection – for our lives. To that end, I want to share some additional perspectives on Easter…and I encourage you to share your thoughts with others too!
“Surprisingly, almost embarrassingly, several stories of the resurrection – none of them exactly the same, some seemingly contradictory – were allowed into the Gospels. An empty tomb. Conflicting accounts. Rumors of meetings. Doubts, surprises, but a powerful message. This Jesus – itinerant preacher, quiet healer, offensive to the pious, scandalously executed – could not be contained by the grave. This wonder was so fantastic that it could not be corralled into straight, manageable, logical accounts. Certainly if the early Church made this up they would have guaranteed that the four Gospels were in airtight agreement.” – James Howell, ‘The Life We Claim – The Apostles Creed’
“The message of the resurrection brought by the disciples on their return to Jerusalem could hardly have lasted a single hour in the city if it had been possible to show that Jesus’ body was lying in a grave.” – Jurgen Moltmann, ‘The Way of Jesus Christ’
We may try to say that the story of the Resurrection means the teachings of Jesus are immortal like the plays of Shakespeare or the music of Beethoven. Or we can say that the Resurrection means the spirit of Jesus is undying, that he lives the way Socrates does in the good he left behind. Or we can say the language of the Gospels is the language of poetry and that it is not to be taken literally but as pointing to a truth more profound than literal. We try to reduce it to the coming of spring, or the rebirth of hope in the despairing soul. We try to suggest that these are the miracles the Resurrection is all about, but they are not. They are miracles, but not this miracle. If I believe this was all the Resurrection meant, then I would turn in my certificate of ordination and take up some other profession. Or at least I hope I would have that much courage. The Resurrection is proclaimed as fact: Christ is risen! And unless something very real took place, there would be no Church, no Christianity. – Fredrick Buechner, ‘The Magnificent Defeat’
“Resurrection means the worst thing, is never the last thing!” – Fredrick Buechner
And perhaps for those who read the Bible’s stories of Jesus’ resurrection, the most surprising discovery. “It is extremely strange and extremely interesting, that the stories of Jesus’ resurrection never mention the future hope of the Christian. Instead, we find a commission within the present world. ‘Jesus is risen, therefore you have work ahead of you.’ The stories are about the vindication of Jesus, the validation of his claims, and the commissioning of his followers to act as his heralds.” – N.T. Wright, ‘The Resurrection of the Son of God.’
“Easter has to do with the victory of seemingly powerless love over loveless power.” – Bill Coffin
Enjoy and Happy Easter – Christ is risen! Halleluiah! – Pastor Dan