Faces on Faith: Hate doesn’t have the last word
For Christians this is the season of Easter which often coincides with the Jewish celebration of Passover; the freeing of the children of Israel from Egypt and the beginning of their journey to the Promised Land. The early church saw in the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection a new Passover, from death to life, from the bondage of sin and death to life in all its fullness.
While the resurrection of Jesus has stood at the center of the Christian faith, it has also been a source of confusion and doubt. None of us have seen a dead person rise and even those we call eye witnesses didn’t. They saw an empty tomb, and the only reason they proclaimed the risen Christ is because they met him afterwards. In Luke’s gospel, it is on the road to Emmaus and in the breaking of the bread; in John’s gospel, he appears in the upper room where the disciples have taken refuge. He appears to Paul on the road to Damascus and in the power of the Holy Spirit on the first Pentecost.
If you are looking for resurrection proof, don’t bother with some kind of pseudo science, but rather look at the power of the risen Christ in the world, in lives changed, in truth spoken to power, in love shared.
The first Easter marked the beginning of the end. I’m reminded of D Day, the invasion of Europe which marked the beginning of the end of the Second World War in Europe. There would be more fighting and dying and bloodshed, but the handwriting was on the wall. Victory would come. So it is with the Resurrection of Jesus. The powers of death have done their worst, but Christ their legions has dispersed. There is a stanza in the song “True Sadness” by the Avett Brothers. While it is not speaking of Christ’s Resurrection, it reflects the same feelings of the beginning of the end.
“I cannot go on with this evil inside me
I step out the door and I feel it surround me
Just know the kingdom of God is within you
Even though the battle is bound to continue.
Jesus died at the hands of the Empire, killed by fear and hate. Yet that death brought new life to this old world. Hate doesn’t have the last word. Love wins!
-Rev. Dr. John N. Cedarleaf, Chapel by the Sea.