For Good Friday and Easter

Yesterday on beliefnet.com, the blogger Chattering Mind asks if we need to/should accept Jesus’ literal resurrection as fact. She seems inclined to the Borg train of thought in which one makes up something more suitable, albeit without any supporting evidence besides one’s own conjurings like Jesus being alive in our hearts, rather than physically alive. I was going to leave a comment, but I couldn’t figure out a way to say it succinctly and decided to leave it to God. Today on slate.com, Rev. Chloe Breyer offers a wonderful explanation of why we can believe in Jesus’ physical resurrection and why it matters that he was physically resurrected.
I would add just a bit more to her essay. I think it matters that Jesus was resurrected because it matters so much that he shared suffering with humanity. It is a wonderful comfort that our God does not just sit on high, but stooped low to experience the same struggles and sufferings which we have in this life. We can know that we are understood, that we can go on, that God does not turn away from our suffering spirits, but embraces them. However, if that was all that he did, God would be no more than a rich man who sloughed off his lifestyle for a while to live with those in the gutters. All good and well, but what does that mean for those left in the gutters who do not have a mansion and nice clothes to return to? Because Jesus rose in the physical state which he chooses to share with us, and not just in some spiritual-metaphysical state of glory we do not share with him, we know there is hope for us. Paul teaches that because we share in Jesus’ sufferings, we will also share in his resurrection. We know that our lives too can be a miracle, that death cannot and will not triumph over us either, that the suffering we see on the cross is not the end of the story. It is hope that the resurrection gives us. It is hope for the person who will never escape their miseries in this world. We know that even if we never escape or rise above the suffering of this world, there is resurrection – real life – that we have to look forward to with Christ. One of the first bible verses I ever committed to memory was Jesus preparing his disciples for his impending death by telling them, “I tell you these things that you might have peace. In this world, you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” (John 16:33) While these are nice words, it is the reality of the resurrected Jesus which allows us to live in the peace he desires for us, knowing as he did when he spoke these words that there is more that awaits us than suffering and death and the memory of nicely words spoken.

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