“But in fact, Christ has been raised from the dead. He is the first of a great harvest of all who have died.” 1 Corinthians 15:20, New Living Translation
This will be the first time I can ever remember not being in a church service at Easter. I will be in a ‘virtual’ service, gathering online together with, hopefully, many of you who read this. In a way, this speaks to the resiliency of Christ and his church. Christ himself, though killed, came back to life on the third day. This is, of course, our focus at Easter. In the early days of the church enemies sought to destroy it. Saul (later Paul) was one of the leaders of this effort. He encountered Jesus and became the most effective of the apostles, bringing the gospel to Europe and penning about a quarter of the New Testament. In the 20th century the Chinese church was brutally oppressed by the communist regime, yet when the bamboo curtain was finally lifted there were at least 100 million Christians in the land, and that number has greatly increased since.
I do not mean to imply that our current situation is some kind of persecution against the church. It’s not. The point is, when we get pushed down – as in not being allowed to congregate – we pop up someplace else. In this case it’s via the internet and telephone. I expect the whole crisis will lead to a stronger church and to people discovering faith in Jesus Christ. This is resurrection power.
The resurrection of Christ is not legend or mythology. Our belief is firmly rooted in the historical event. It is more than history, however. The power of the cross and the resurrection pervade and infuse our lives continuously with mercy, grace and strength. As St. Paul (formerly Saul) wrote, “If the same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will give strength to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.” Romans 8:11
We won’t be able to ‘commune’ face to face at Easter, but let’s have bread and juice (or wine) at hand in our homes. I will read the ‘words of institution’ and we can partake together during the 10:30 stream. I would encourage those unable to tune in to read 1 Corinthians 11:23-26 and partake as well. Meanwhile, stay home and stay safe! Peace to all.
In Christ’s love,