Hello everyone! Wherever you may be around the country and world, I pray that your week is going well. It's the Wednesday before Easter, and I'm going to start my essay here with a story that's a little bizarre. Bear with me (smile).
I'm in a car with about six other people, blowing down an insanely crowded street in Amedabad, India. Our driver must have woke that morning and made a vow that, live or die, he would never take his hand off the horn, and never decelerate... at all. Unless of course it was to slam on the brakes and skid to a stop to avoid being crushed by an elephant. I'm not exaggerating. In fact, the conversation in the car (between gasps) revolved around how impossible it was going to be to even remotely describe the experience to anyone once we got home. How do you capture a moment in time that includes a dense, incomprehensibly shifting mass of brightly colored trucks, motorized rickshaws, non-motorized rickshaws, countless mopeds carrying six people each, and over-capacity cars such as ours all flowing like high pressure water around the lazily moving obstacles of elephants, cows, and elderly women carrying huge bundles on their backs, like boulders being slowly rolled by a rushing current? For the soundtrack, imagine every car in the parking lot at a Bronco's game all hitting their horns as rapidly as they can, and never stopping. Ever. Trying to even take this all in, a member of our team suggested "we could tell our friends to think of the craziest, loudest, most insane traffic they can possibly imagine, throw in a liberal dose of cows and elephants in the middle of everything... and then double it. Twice." That might start to scratch the surface.
I have a point here (smile). How do we describe something to others that is beyond our ability to even comprehend ourselves? On that first day of plowing through the traffic in Ahmedabad, I was thinking "I see all this around me, I know must be real, but my brain is having a tough time even processing that it is real." Friends, at least at this point in my life, this is how I think about Resurrection. As I just remarked to a friend, "I feel like a toddler trying to describe Mt. Everest." It's really, really, really, really-really big! Not even close.
Resurrection. The scope of this concept- when trying to grasp it through the lens of the New Covenant- defies full comprehension. I'm not just talking about a historical event where Jesus rose from the dead. That's mind-bending enough. For the last 2000 years the overwhelming historical evidence of Jesus' resurrection has filled rationalists with all measures of cognitive dissonance. But I'm not just talking about that. If we think of the literal, life-conquering-death resurrection of Jesus as a stone thrown into the lake of history, I'm talking about the ripples that continue in all directions, for all eternity, carrying us along with them. It's beyond our ability to fully comprehend. Resurrection, my friends, is the defining reality of all that will be history, it is the aching desire of all creation, it is the ultimate hope-beyond-hope of humanity. And, except for the one calendar day a year we evangelicals set aside for it, its something to which most of us give little thought in the day to day reality of life as we know it.
This Resurrection day ("Easter" is really such a culturally compromised term) we will do our best to do better. This Sunday, by the Grace of God in which we stand, we will ask God to transform our hearts by the renewing of our minds so that we can even begin to comprehend how wide, long, high, and deep is the life-pouring miracle of God's Love, made manifest in the cosmos transforming reality of Resurrection. And as dramatic as that last sentence tried to be, I'm still like a toddler trying to describe Mt. Everest.
I'll end with this. When I think of the most intimate, personal thought of Resurrection day in my own life, it's Keith Green's "Easter Song". For a little context, it's about 3:30 in the morning on Easter Sunday, any number of years when Caleb was still here in school. We are headed into Vail for the mountain-top sunrise service, and as was our tradition, along with lots of coffee, we would play this song to awaken our minds and set alight our spirits. The music is clearly from the 70's, but with absolute exultation, in his clear and soaring voice, Keith Green cried out to anyone in our broken world that may be listening...
Hear the bells ringing, they're singing that we can be born again!
Hear the bells ringing, they're singing Christ is risen from the dead!
The angles, upon the tombstone, say He has risen, just as he said,
Quickly now, reach out and receive it, for Jesus Christ is no longer dead!
Joy to the world! He is Risen! Hallelujah! He's Risen! Hallelujah!
He's Risen! Halle-lu-jah! Hallelujah!
The angles, they all surround us, and they are ministering Jesus' power!
Quickly now, reach out and receive it, for this could be your glorious hour!
Joy to the world! He is Risen! Hallelujah!
He's Risen! Hallelujah!
He's Risen! Halle-lu-jah! Hallelujah!
As my dear friend Father Brooks taught me to exclaim, "Hallelujah, Christ is Risen!" And may we all, from the depths of our hearts, longing to grasp the insurmountable joy of this miracle, respond in the unique voice that God has created within each of us, "The Lord is Risen indeed, Hallelujah!"
I love you Trinity, and compared to Christ's love for us, my love is like a toddler trying to describe Mt. Everest. It gives me great joy knowing that the journey of discovering this mountain is made alongside you.
In the life-pouring hope of Resurrection,
And God raised us up with Christ and seated us with Him
in the heavenly realms in Christ Jesus
Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above,
where Christ is seated at the right hand of God