I awoke to a provocative text from my friend on the East coast yesterday morning. He had a 3 hour head start on me and I assume he was at an Easter sunrise service.
My friend knows that I now minister in a context where not everyone believes in physical resurrection, preferring a more ‘spiritual’ interpretation or even a poetic one.
He wanted to know how you preach hope without a physical resurrection. I informed him that it is was almost no different. For all the energy and effort we put into defending the Evidence That Demands a Verdict reading of the Easter story, the reality is that:
- You can say almost everything you used to say
- It has the same impact on how people live their lives either way
That was a sobering realization for me a couple of years ago.
Side Note: This is why I get into it with Tripp when he insists on THE resurrection and scoffs at my preference for Resurrection. [you can read about his disdain for my friend ‘Al’ here]
I thought it would be fun put my response here and compare notes with others who have been on both sides of this fence.
Here is what I said about preaching hope on Easter:
“In the same way that the disciples experienced the presence of Christ after Easter, we experience God’s presence with us.
Through the presence of God’s holy spirit we both re-member Christ and are empowered to obey Jesus’ teaching and as we do this we are the Body of Christ and the presence of God in the world.
We know that in Christ there is a life beyond death and the grave does not have the last word.”
It is strangely both encouraging and discouraging a the same time to realize.
- Encouraging that living as Easter people, no matter your view of resurrection, means living out the life of God in the world and bringing/being good news to the world.
- Discouraging that so much time and energy is expended on getting this right when in the end we all basically live the same way, serve with grace, and spend our time, talents and treasure in almost identical ways.
Living as Easter people is a privilege and joy! We proclaim good news in the Gospel of incarnation and emanuel.
We live into the new life and know that there is life beyond death! It is actually really good news that we have share – no matter if our view is physical, spiritual or poetic.