These last couple of post-Easter days, I’ve given a lot of thought to the idea of celebrating Christ’s resurrection. On Sunday morning my pastor, Amy, gave a sermon titled, “He has risen, indeed! So what?” So what? This has been on my mind.
For most of us that were raised as Christians, each year we spout off the typical celebratory Bible passages and phrases on this day. Scrolling through social media, I realize every other post is about Christ triumphantly and gloriously conquering death. I even get caught up in the excitement without being able to explain a deeper meaning other than what my tradition passed to me; Christ died for me and rose to give me hope to get to heaven. So what?
Christ set us a radical example of how to live, he sacrificed himself for this way of living, and then his resurrection provided us with hope in a world that is filled with despair. However, I’ve been wondering how I can celebrate this joyful event, if I am not keeping my promise of being a hope for the world?
In her sermon, Amy challenged us that the resurrection means nothing if we just come to church on Easter morning, then refuse to change our lives to live radically in our broken world. If we do not obey Christ’s commandment to us from his last supper of loving one another, how can we celebrate a resurrected Christ?
I’m broken. I’m living in a wrecked world. A world where one religion persecutes another. A culture in which followers of Christ discriminate and live “an eye for an eye.” When Christians are killed, our only response is with more death. In this country, when guns ravage a school, we shout for more gun freedom. In the US, we have the luxury to sit comfortably in our pews, read our Bibles, and then sit on our thrones of self-righteousness to condemn those who do not share the same fundamental understanding of God’s word. We are so concerned with evangelizing our truth that we ignore the unconditional love that we are called to share to the world! Amos forth told the reality of the Israeli people thousands of years ago and his words still resound today.
“I hate, I despise your festivals, and I take no delight in your solemn assemblies. Even though you offer me your burnt offerings and grain offerings, I will not accept them; and the offerings of well-being of your fatted animals I will not look upon. Take away from me the noise of your songs; I will not listen to the melody of your harps. But let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.”
Christ’s resurrection. So what? Why should we rejoice? Being discouraged from the inequality, injustice, and discrimination in our society, I am quickly reminded why I CAN celebrate the promise of Christ. Hope does live. It lives in the voices of those on our nation’s southern border that are demanding more humane treatment for our Spanish speaking brothers and sisters. It lives in the hearts of Christians, Jews, and Muslims that come together to conquer the fundamental extremists around the world. It lives in the hands of our doctors and nurses that risk their lives to care for the hopeless. It lives in the hugs between white and black Americans. It lives in the signs calling for equal treatment for all Americans. It lives in the lives of all those who sacrifice their lives for others. In those who are doing the will of God on earth, just as in heaven.
Hope lives. We are and must be the hope! Let us allow justice to roll down like waters and righteousness flow like a stream. We must rejoice!