Posted by Pastor Mark Thurman
Two pastors and a zombie walk into a bar…
Neither one of my two best pastor friends in Montana’s Yellowstone Annual Conference- Dave McConnell & Debbie Schmidt- were joking around when it came to their different understanding of Jesus’ resurrection. They argued all the time about whether or not Jesus actually, literally, rose from the dead; and, to what extent it affected one’s practice of Christian discipleship. If taken at its surface, literal level, what prevents Easter from resembling an episode of AMC’s The Walking Dead? Granted, the existence of zombies would be something extraordinary. But surely, the original disciples were bearing witness to an experience/existence of far more value than that, both for the one resurrected, and the rest of his/her community.
Interestingly, in addition to “rising from the dead”, the meaning of resurrection in the original Greek language of the New Testament also includes being “roused from sleep.” And in this, there is value to be found: the risen Christ as an ally rather than an enemy, opening our heads not to consume our brains but to provide clarity of vision and renewed energy, healing and wholeness. Easter is the celebration not only of Jesus’ resurrection, but of ours too. And it’s extends well beyond Easter Sunday to every day, every moment. As the 20th century United Methodist pastor to congregations in Harlem and the Bronx, William James, composed in his hymn, Easter People, Raise Your Voices: “Every day to us is Easter, with its resurrection song.”
Perhaps there is a situation, or maybe a person, that is attempting to terminate the abundant life God desires to create with you, further burying you under a mound of fear or anger, envy or sorrow? The good news of Easter offers a bigger, fuller, more complete picture- a contemplative view, some Christians say- a resurrection composition praising the grand potential of life, Spirit-intended, and the greater power of life in God’s love over the despair of death. A hope in resurrection infuses the crosses we all sometimes have to bear with a meaning beyond the surface literal, and makes them easier to endure until they serve their purpose and then bow to the greater power of emerging new life.
© 2017 Cameron United Methodist Church