Wednesday, April 04, 2012

A Post-Resurrection World

“Son,” my father would begin, “the ‘good ole days’ were not that good.  You don’t remember, but we had to go outside to use the bathroom.”  Just this week, I was telling my son, “Son, I remember when you had to actually get up and walk across the room to the television to change the channel.”  Of course, some of you remember the hardship of the Depression and the sacrifice of World War II.  Some remember the days when previous generations struggled to end segregation or marched for women’s suffrage.  For younger generations, it can be hard to understand how bad it was before.  Most of us can only imagine what others have experienced as we declare to those in authority how bad things are now.  What was it like to have to submit to a monarch’s every whim before the Magna Carta?  What might it have felt like to have taxes levied on you without any voice in appointing the person who levies the taxes?  Even stranger still, for many of us, is the thought of enduring discrimination and recrimination simply because of our race or gender.

In many ways, it is a monumental task to wrap our minds around the concept of existence before the resurrection of Jesus Christ.  You and I have always lived in a post-resurrection world.  If we read the Gospels, we get some insight into the life of the disciples before the resurrection. Confusion, uncertainty, fear, jockeying for key positions in the Kingdom they thought was coming, and despair were all common traits in each of the disciples.  How did they and the world change after the resurrection?  Realization, confidence, courage, sacrifice, and hope were the hallmarks of the disciples turned to apostles as revealed in the books of Acts. I can only imagine the response of Peter or Andrew if they heard the church in the present day complain about persecution or show fear in the face of crisis. I suspect we would get a healthy dose of pastoral advice if one of the apostles were to hear the church verbalize the despair of evangelization in our very secular culture. Perhaps the same advice he gave to the Church at Ephesus is applicable today when Paul writes, “for at one time you were darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light” (Ephesians 5:8).

The season of Easter is a chance to “remember” through the Acts of the Apostles what a post resurrection people are called to be and to do.  Through Easter, the Old Testament lessons are replaced with readings from the book of Acts.  This Sunday we celebrate the victory of Christ over sin and death. The rest of the Sundays in Easter, we celebrate the victory of the Body of Christ, His Church, over the powers of darkness that seeks to swallow the world in despair and fear.

As Christians who have always lived in the ongoing light of the resurrection, we forget what “the ole days” were really like.  We live in the glory of the resurrection! Christ has been raised from the dead. Those in the church who keep that forefront in their proclamation will never know despair.

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