Rev. Robert Black: “Get Up!”
The Resurrection, the event which the season of Here Easter celebrates, is a subversive event that changes everything.
Whether you interpret the event as something literal and physical, spiritual and metaphorical, or something in between, the fact remains that the language of the Resurrection is the language of transformation. This transformation shows us that there is no doubt so certain that faith can never come. No pain so severe that there can be no healing. No injustice so insidious that there can be no reconciliation. No war so fierce that there can be no peace. No hatred so strong that there can be no love. No sin so bad that there can be no forgiveness. No death so final that there can be no Resurrection.
But in reading the gospel accounts of this event, we see that the first reaction by those who hear of the Resurrection is fear. These accounts, though, do not end in fear. Instead, movement becomes a part of the story. And so our response to the Easter story is to get up. Get up because Jesus got up. The Lord is risen, so get up. The angel tells the women “But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going ahead of you to Galilee; there you will see him, just as he told you.” As we’ve seen throughout the gospels, Jesus is always on the move. Just when you think you’ve got Jesus figured out and pinned down, he’s moved somewhere else. Being a follower of the Risen Lord means that we will always be on the move.
Christianity is not an agreed upon set of conclusions about God; it is the response to the God who refuses to stay dead. So get up. The Resurrection is about the unexpected becoming a reality; it is about changing the way you see the world. So it might be that in order to follow the Risen Lord, you will need to change the way you think. You might find yourself giving more time and money to causes you support. You might find yourself having a mind that is more open to new possibilities. Your heart might be more ready to love your neighbor as yourself. Jesus is not a static Messiah, he is always on the move. So get up!
What the Resurrection shows us that there is a power loose in this world that gives us the boldness and grace to live not in the shadow of death, but in the light of the Resurrection. Far too many Christians mistake Christianity for a religion that is concerned about what happens to you after death. But Jesus’ Resurrection shows us that the true emphasis is on life before death. The message throughout the gospels is that “the Kingdom of God is among you.” So get up. Get up and serve those in need, because in them you will find the Risen Lord. Get up and pray, giving thanks for God’s love and salvation. Get up and get more involved in the community, because we need you. Get up and stand up for justice and equality. Get up and shout “the Lord is Risen” so that everyone will know the Good News.
The Resurrection is not an event to explain or understand, but rather a reality in which to thrive. Whether you are firm in the faith or resolute in suspicion, I pray that you might know the liberation that comes from knowing that there is a force in this world that is more powerful than death. We Christians affirm that this is God’s Incarnate Love in the person of Jesus. But if you’re not there yet, instead just know that such a power exists. And if you want to know more, you are welcome to join us in the journey.
The Rev. Robert Black is rector of St. Luke’s Episcopal Church in downtown Salisbury