The Easter Miracle
The poet T.S. Eliot once said, “Every now and then life drops an unavoidable question at your door and you are called to answer it.”
As we begin the holy walk toward Easter 2016, I wonder if we could take a moment away from dying Easter eggs every hue of the rainbow, picking out our finest Sunday dresses and feathered hats, and planning a gourmand menu for Easter lunch to answer the following question:
“Do I believe heart, mind and soul that over 2,000 years ago a Jewish carpenter from Nazareth known as Jesus was resurrected from the dead and that I’m promised the same miracle?”
To confess “yes” is the heart of the Christian faith. On Easter morning, we will sing with gusto, “He is risen. He is risen, indeed.” But in the quiet of our souls do we really believe that mind-blowing and natural law-defying miracle?
If you were to visit my hometown of Spartanburg, South Carolina (Sparkle City to those in the know), you can be driving down what appears a normal road until all of a sudden it dead-ends into the town’s oldest cemetery. It gives you an eerie feeling and you immediately throw the car in reverse and back track as quickly as you can in the opposite direction. Cemeteries translate to death and death appears the final stone rolled across our lives.
The Resurrection challenges not only our five senses, our intellect, but also the universal laws of nature. If you secretly struggle with the miracle you are not alone. Jesus’s family, his 12 disciples, and faithful Christians for over two millennium have scratched their heads in bewilderment (“could it be?”) and soul-wrestled in secret over the Resurrection and its implications. Remember, they didn’t call him Doubting Thomas for nothing!
To believe in the Resurrection requires a leap of consciousness. And yet, if the answer is found to be “no” then all roads end in a cemetery and a real tombstone is the denouement of our stories.
One only has to turn on the news and listen to the litany of death by ISIS, drugs, gang wars, spousal abuse, cancer, hunger, suicide, and old age to paint a bleak picture of our futures. Apparently, there is an expiration date on humanity. Or is there?
I would suggest that if you were to walk back over the landscape of your own life you would come upon a couple of “tombstones.” Spend enough time on this planet and you are guaranteed a “tomb experience” or two. Maybe it was a low point in a marriage or a divorce, an illness, the death of a loved one, alcoholism, bout of depression, or the loss of a dream.
Regardless, you find yourself in a dark place. The stone is rolled inexorably across your life and you struggle for a glimmer of hope. For a modicum of time you think you’ve come to the end.
And then, Easter comes. Maybe it’s a small resurrection, but a rising nonetheless. You rise up from the grave of your situation to see your way to the other side.
I believe it’s God’s way of allowing us a “test-drive” for the ultimate Resurrection. Because let’s be honest, the shock and awe of Easter is not only that God resurrected his Son from the dead, but even more profoundly, it was God’s promise to do the same for us.
To say yes to the Easter question is to say our road does not end in a cemetery, but continues on!
Last night, I watched the movie, Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade for probably the tenth time with my older children. If you’ll remember, Indiana Jones is on the hunt for the Holy Grail alongside a villainous pack of German Nazi’s. In true hero fashion, Indiana uses his keen senses, intellect, and strapping physique to defy one booby trap after the next. But then he reaches a point in the adventure where there appears no where else for him to go. To reach the Grail will require a giant leap of faith. Suddenly, we hear Indiana whisper, “Believe.” He says it over and over again to himself, “Believe. Believe. Believe.” And then like the great hero he is, Indiana steps out into the unknown. Miraculously, the path is there to meet him.
Easter requires a leap of faith. Will you take it?