By Rev. BOB FURNISS
This past Sunday, Christians marked the holiest day of our year, Easter. On this day we remember and celebrate the resurrection of Jesus Christ. Buried on Friday, his followers were surprised to find the tomb empty Sunday morning. Later that day they experienced the resurrected Christ.
Resurrection is a foundational concept for Christians. We believe that Jesus gave us a new vision for how God wanted to relate to humankind. Jesus taught us that God’s love and concern for us knows no bounds, we don’t deserve it and there’s really no way to earn it. It is simply in God’s nature to love us.
In Jesus’ suffering and painful death on the cross we believe that God experienced the worst that humankind had to offer, including betrayal and abandonment by his closest followers. Jesus’ resurrection assures us that pain, suffering and death will not be the final word on life.
As Christians we believe that Christ’s resurrection opens the possibility of resurrection to all of us; that death need not be the final word on our life either. This is our hope, that there is more to life than meets the eye. Easter morning reminds us where we place our hope.
Remembering Christ’s resurrection on Easter Sunday can also remind us to look for signs of resurrection outside of life after death. I believe God gives us glimmers of resurrection in the present moment, if we pay attention. In fact, I think we can practice seeing resurrection.
Take note of the times where something new develops from something old. Notice the times when you find abundance where you thought there was scarcity. Pay attention to the healings you receive or you see in the life of someone you know. Celebrate the diversity of humankind, branching out beyond the people you know and with whom you are comfortable, take a chance on getting to know someone who may not look like you or share your same point of view. Each of these offers an opportunity to see resurrection.
Where life triumphs over death, there is resurrection. When we find joy springing out of sadness, there is resurrection. Where wonder and awe arise out of chaos and confusion, there is resurrection. And where there is resurrection, there also is an opportunity to witness the risen Christ at work in our world.
Resurrection is not just a thing of the past or a vague promise for the future; it is with us even now. In this Easter season we have the opportunity to practice seeing resurrection, so that throughout the year we are prepared to recognize it around us in the world.
The Rev. Bob Furniss is chaplain at Lakeview Hospital and Hospice.