Week of April 16, 2014

Todd JonesMy Dear Friends,

Easter is a remarkable gift. Indeed, Easter is the whole reason for the Christian faith and the Christian Church. British theologian Michael Ramsey put it so matter of factly: “No resurrection. No Christianity.” This is precisely what the Apostle Paul believed as well. “If there is no resurrection of the dead, then Christ has not been raised; and if Christ has not been raised, then our proclamation has been in vain and your faith has been in vain” (I Corinthians 15:13). Paul put all his eggs in the Easter basket, I am often fond of saying.

Isn’t it interesting that the best news, the greatest hope the world has ever known came from an empty tomb? The New Testament Church experienced the power of Jesus’ resurrection on Easter, and Clement of Alexandria, an early Church Father, said, “Christ has turned all our sunsets into dawn.” Easter, of course, speaks powerfully to the reality of death. But for the Believer, the resurrection speaks just as powerfully to life. “The great Easter truth is not that we are to live newly after death — that is not the great thing — but that we are to be new here and now by the power of the resurrection; not so much that we are to live forever, as that we are to, and may, live nobly now because we are to live forever,” said Phillips Brooks. It is in this life that Easter can make all of life new. C. S. Lewis said, “Jesus has forced open a door that had been locked since the death of the first man. He has met, fought, beaten the King of Death. Everything is different because he has done so.” It is to the difference that the resurrection has forever made that I want to speak. For too many people, Easter is simply a day in the year, even if it is a day that holds wonderful, heartwarming memories. John Stott said, “Christianity is in its very essence a resurrection religion. The concept of resurrection lies at its heart.” I have come to believe that Jesus’ resurrection that first Easter morn, sometime before the dawn, is not simply an event, though it is surely that. It also revealed to us the very power of God, which is a power over death, a power brimming with life. Resurrection is a principal at the heart of the universe, and it reveals to us that God creates hope in the face of fear, love in the face of violence and hatred, goodness in the face of evil, passion in the face of apathy, life in the face of death. William Temple said, “Life is larger than resurrection; but resurrection is, so to speak, the crucial quality of life.”

Let this “crucial quality of life” take hold in your life, and let it fill your days. John Calvin used to say, “Every Sunday is a little Easter.” If Christ is risen, and I believe with all my heart that He is, then every day is a day to live in the power of the resurrection. Every day is a day to rejoice, and to find a passion for living, to find hope to embrace tomorrow with courage and purpose. Trust in the power of God that raised Jesus from the dead that first Easter. It is with you today, and available in all your tomorrows.

With Love and Prayers,

Todd Jones

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