What transformation will you experience this Easter?
Over the years, as I prepare for Easter Sunday, I wonder why the women, in Mark’s story of the resurrection, did not say anything to anyone. I know the story is that “they were afraid.”
But who else can truly tell the story? They are witnesses to the resurrection. They are involved in it.
Similarly, the late Dr. Peter J. Gomes, Plummer Professor of Christian Morals at Harvard extends this message to each one of us today. He wrote,
“…the resurrection is a continuing event which involves everyone who dares be involved in it. Easter is not just about Jesus, it’s about you. Jesus has already claimed his new life. What about you? Easter is not just about the past, it’s about the future. Your best days are ahead of you. The proof of the resurrection is in your hands and in your life.”
So, how can we be involved in the resurrection? How do we become proof of the resurrection?
Love as Jesus Loved
To be involved with the resurrection, you and I must love as Jesus loved. E. Stanley Jones, in his book Gandhi: A Portrayal of a Friend, tells the story of his first encounter with Mahatma Gandhi. Jones asked him, “What would you, a Hindu leader, tell me, a Christian, to do in order to make Christianity a normal part of India?”
Without hesitation, Gandhi responded with clarity and directness.
“First, I would suggest that all of you Christians begin to live more like Jesus Christ. Second, practice your religion without adulterating it or toning it down. Third, emphasize love and make it your working force, for love is central in Christianity. Fourth, study the non-Christian religions more sympathetically to find the good that is within them, in order to have a more sympathetic approach to the people.”
The great Hindu leader said, “Your faith doesn’t need to be changed; it doesn’t need to be added to or subtracted from; it needs to be lived as it is.”
Are you “All In”?
In other words, to be involved with the resurrection, you and I must be “all in” followers of Jesus. We identify, not only with Jesus but, with the people with whom Jesus identified.
That means we will have to identify with the poor and oppressed, the marginalized and forgotten, and with the uber-religious. Identification and relationships are essential to being “all in”. You and I will have to have personal contact with people who suffer as well as celebrate.
“All In” Actions
Consider the following actions:
- serving meals, visiting the sick and lonely.
- assisting those who are physically or mentally disabled
- befriending a neglected child
- leading your church into the community to engage with the people in your neighborhood or city
These actions are ways we can identify with the people with whom Jesus identified. As we do, we can discover the humbling joy of receiving more than we give. Through identification with persons and involvement in their lives, we can become the proof of the resurrection.
To be involved with the resurrection, you and I, must not only love like Jesus, be “all in” followers of Jesus, but we must listen to the witness of those who have been with Jesus themselves.
Read Mark’s story,
“When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and Salome, bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him…And they went out and fled from the tomb; for trembling and astonishment had come upon them; and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.”
Are You Listening?
The greatest clue to being involved in the resurrection is in the witness of the women at the empty tomb. When the women do speak, when they find their tongues, when they witness, I will listen.
Maybe the greatest proof of the resurrection is seen in the transformation of our living. We don’t even have to say much when we are loving one another as we have been loved. But we do need to listen for the ones who know Jesus personally. That’s where we’ll hear, see, and experience the power of the resurrection. That’s where we’ll claim the new life. This Sunday, my prayer for you and all who gather is this: Easter transformation. May it be so!