“Know that you are risen with Christ.” That text from Colossians is the way Christians said hello for centuries… not just at Easter, but year round. Kind of makes the whole Merry Christmas/Happy Holidays kerfuffle sound pretty tame. Imagine living in a world where we greeted each other with the plain truth of the Resurrection and our salvation in it. Jesus did more than imagine such a world, he gave his life for it.
Scientific instruments have recently captured the echo of the first trillionth of a second of creation. From that moment to this, the dividing line between what went before and all that followed, is that first Easter dawn in Jerusalem. Christ is risen and all is changed. Death, the one unbeatable absolute, is beaten. Our fate is no longer a life of flight from the inevitable clutches of death. In the risen Christ we live in the here and now… crossing over seamlessly to the there and then… in the certainty of our own resurrection. In the risen Christ we are safe from sin… knowing that beyond our falls lies the resurrection of forgiveness. Beyond our betrayals, divine mercy awaits the penitent.
Christ’s Easter greeting to his followers is a clear indication of the transformative nature of the Resurrection. Significantly, the women in Christ’s life now emerge from supporting roles to become principle witnesses and messengers of the Resurrection. The fact that women are the medium of the good news is integral to the message of the good news. The word “apostle” from the Greek “apostolos” literally means messenger. Christ’s first messengers of the Resurrection are the holy women who stood by him when others went into hiding. They are the first apostles of the risen Christ.
Jesus tells them not to announce his Resurrection to his “disciples”, but to his “brethren.” In the risen Christ, clearly our relationship to him and to each other has changed. We are sisters and brothers in a bond stronger than the blood of ancestors. We are sisters and brothers in the saving blood of Jesus, shed freely for our salvation.
If this is all true… and it is… if the Resurrection is the turning point of the ages… and it is… what are we supposed to do about it? Go to church and sing a few Alleluias? Stay home and eat some jelly beans? We’ll probably say a few mandatory “Happy Easters” to family and friends, have a good dinner and then raid the kids’ baskets for a bite of chocolate bunny. But it’s unlikely that we’ll run around the neighborhood like the apostles shouting and sharing the good news of the Resurrection. We’re too cool for that… too inhibited… too sophisticated. So do we just call it a day and get back to work tomorrow.
No. Here’s a better idea. Let this feast of the Resurrection mark a turning point in our lives. Christ is risen and he wants us to be risen, too. Greet this Easter in the certainty of the Resurrection. Live this day in the risen Christ. Believe with renewed confidence. Pray with renewed conviction. Love with renewed fervor. Serve with renewed energy. Make every morning a resurrection. And God will give us the ultimate Easter greeting:
Well done, thou good and faithful servant… enter into the joy of the Lord.
The Reverend David Sellery, Author, Resource Creator and Retreat Leader. Committed to a vocation that focuses on encountering God in the midst of everyday life, I serve as an Episcopal priest who seeks to proclaim the good news of God in Christ in worship, pastoral care, education, stewardship, congregational development and community outreach, while continually engaging our wider culture with dynamism and hope.