Thursday, March 30, 2017

Afraid of Easter

Easter is an amazing day. It is a day we proclaim that death no longer has the last word, that Christ in rising has broken the bonds of the grave for all of us. Yet, wonderful as that news is, it is also news which Robert Noblett says, “Makes us quake in our clogs.” There is something unsettling and even frightening about resurrection. And I am not talking about the idea of zombies, or even dead bodies breaking forth from tombs; rather, I am talking about what James Evans McReynolds says in this writing:

Whatever else the resurrection of Jesus means,
it means that God is getting close to us.
We fear that.
Easter, we say, is a day of joy
and it really is.
We say it is a day of hope and it really is.
We say it is a day of promise and it really is.
But we are not as fond of it as we think.
We are afraid of it.
We are more afraid of it than we will ever say.

McReynolds says that resurrection means that God is getting close to us. God is reaching out and touching one of those certainties of life, and changing the rules. Certainly the disciples were afraid when Jesus walked into the room with them. What were Jesus’ intentions? Was he a good spirit or a bad spirit, a friend or a foe? They simply didn’t know how to react, because people aren’t supposed to rise from the dead. It certainly makes me wonder how I would respond if I encountered that kind of spiritual power?

At its heart, Easter is God interfering in what we think we know. And while we are thankful beyond words that death has been defeated, there is at the edge of our thoughts a terrifying realization that if God can do this, what else is God capable of? What other plans for reversal and change does God have? What other certainties of life might God decide should be done away with? And what if we don’t like those decisions of God and we would rather hold onto the old ways, even if they do include things like death?

Take a moment and think about it. Let Easter disturb your comfortable world with the knowledge that God is getting very close to us. Find yourself challenged by a love which is willing to change nature itself. Then hear Jesus as he says, “Peace I leave with you. My peace I give you. I give to you not as the world gives. Don’t be troubled or afraid.” (John 14:27)

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