All over the world, Christians are preparing to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. We have walked the Lenten journey together, many of us sharing in reflection and bible study through our Lenten devotionals. We have sung the songs and prayed the prayers of our faith, as we’ve sought to look compassionately and realistically at our lives. Now we head toward Easter, the culmination of all our preparations.
But we have a dilemma. What does “resurrection” really mean to us today? We are often torn between seeing resurrection as something that happened to Jesus long ago, and looking ahead to our own resurrection at the time of our death. In either of these cases, resurrection is seen as something that happens to someone — to Jesus in the past and to us in the future. What if we also thought of resurrection as a present reality and as a verb: as something we do. Resurrection could become for us a choice about how to live, a kind of spiritual practice for our lives.
We practice resurrection whenever we choose to bring hope into a situation that seems hopeless. Do you have a friend or family member who is depressed or grieving? Being with them, offering love and acceptance, sharing the resources for help — these things are practicing resurrection. When we recognize and speak up about injustice or unkindness — that is practicing resurrection. Kathie reminded me of the rainbow colored bracelets so many members of this congregation wear in support of LGBT youth. That is a resurrection practice.
Taking an unpopular stand on behalf of those less powerful – that is a resurrection practice.
Giving, serving, loving, challenging unfairness, offering hope — these are all ways of doing resurrection. There is power in the story of Jesus’ life and death and resurrection, even as there is profound hope in the promises of life to come for each of us. But that is not all there is to this story. Resurrection is something we live into every day, every time we choose to act lovingly and hopefully.
May this Easter be an invitation to all of us to actively look for ways to bring new life and joy into a world steeped in death and pain. We are a resurrection people — it’s what we believe and it is what we do. Thanks be to God.