Listen to this story:
Today, Christians throughout the world proclaim, “The Lord is Risen from the dead! Alleluia! He is truly risen!” Such exclamations declare the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.
The Resurrection of the Lord Jesus is the most powerful, earth-shattering, explosive event to ever happen in human history. It has fundamentally changed the human narrative and has drastically changed the course of how human beings interact with one another as Christians seek to be light and leaven in the midst of the world.
The Resurrection is an event to be reckoned with and one that carries a seed that has flourished for over two millennia.
The belief that the eternal God became a man, allowed himself to experience everything that is human, die a horrific death in the midst of terrible mockery, rise from the dead, and call his disciples to follow his way and to share in his glory is a creed that has turned the fallen world upside down. It has turned monsters into saints and barbaric hordes into civil societies.
From the Resurrection, a way of life is confirmed and given to believers. It is a way that points to eternity and hope, to mercy and redemption. Included within such a way of life is a call to forgive enemies, revere the human body, selflessly serve the poor, welcome the stranger, protect the vulnerable, devoutly celebrate sacraments, study the Bible, and live a way of life ordered by prayer and spiritual discernment.
Saint Paul highlighted the central importance of the Resurrection when he wrote, “And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith… And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.”
The Christian way of life is countercultural today, as it was two thousand years ago. The way of the Lord Jesus is what has always distinguished the “sons and daughters of the Resurrection” from the rest of humanity.
In order for believers themselves to live and flourish in such a way of life, they must fully embrace the Resurrection and all it lessons. It’s only when believers surrender their own lives that they can begin to understand the Resurrection. It’s only when believers are willing to die to themselves, as the Lord Jesus calls us to do, that we can fully realize the glory of the Resurrection in this life and in the next.
It was only through Calvary that the Lord Jesus revealed to us his Resurrection. It is only in self-abandonment in Christ that we find the truth of the Resurrection in our own lives.
Just as the Risen Lord left the confines of the tomb, so the Resurrection is an invitation for us to go beyond ourselves. It is a call to see through the pain, sorrow, and suffering of life and to place them in the midst of eternity and from the perspective of eternal life.
The Resurrection contains the difficult summons for us “to get out of ourselves,” the small, self-created worlds that we create in our own minds and hearts, and die to ourselves in love and service to God and others.
The Resurrection shows us the big picture of existence. It lifts the veil that shrouds suffering and death and reveals to us the goodness of life and the reality of eternity.
The light of the Resurrection strengthens believers to live the Lord’s way. It is the fortitude that allows us to give mercy when we want vengeance. It is the inner push to serve others when we want to rest or focus on ourselves. The Resurrection helps us to order our desires and preferences according to the way of the Lord.
Whether a person is a believer or not, the capacity of the Resurrection to form a community of like-minded people who wish to be instruments of mercy, respect, compassion, self-service and prayer cannot be dismissed.
The effects of the Resurrection can be seen and felt in the lives of those who are sick, poor, rashly judged, and living on the peripheries of society and yet have been accepted, honored, loved and served by believers in the Risen Christ.
The Resurrection is the culmination of all that is good and truly human. It is the elevation of the human into divinity. It is the work of God and a gift and summons to humanity.