Sunday, April 20, 2014

The Scandalous Resurrection

This is Easter morning, which I prefer to call Resurrection Sunday.  It's a quiet morning as we prepare to have family over for dinner later in the day.  Last night, we ate and worshipped with our friends at the Stand Down House in Lake Worth, a halfway house for veterans with substance abuse or PTSD.  It was a beautiful night; sharing the Lord's Supper together and praying for healing.  As has been our tradition, we will not have an "Easter service" on Sunday morning.  Instead, we encourage each other to take this day to be with family and rest.

In the world of Christian religion, that must seem very strange.  After all, this is the day.  For many churches, it is the one annual shot they have with people who may only attend church twice a year.  For others, nothing will be held back in their pomp and circumstance.  This is like the Super Bowl of Christianity.  But reading through the different Gospel accounts of the resurrection, I have a different reaction.  There is no Rock Star Jesus coming out of the tomb with fireworks and smoke.  There is no televangelist Jesus showing up on the temple steps wowing the crowds and getting them saved.  Instead, he spends time with the ones he loves.  First, he honors the women that have ministered to him and been such a crucial part of his ministry.  Then Peter (and John depending on the account) and the rest of the disciples are introduced to the new world that has just dawned.  Jesus comes to them as you would expect - humble, gentle, and among the stuff of real life.  Walking on the Emmaus Road discussing the scriptures, having breakfast on the beach, sitting around the table with their Master as they had done so many times.

Resurrection Sunday is an invitation to be with the real Jesus.  Not the superhero that no one can relate to or see.  But as a friend that comes to us right in the middle of our mess and calls us into a life where we belong and are loved.  The scandal of the resurrection is that it is shockingly real.  It reveals something we only speak in whispers about.  Push aside the pageants and regal fanfare and there is a rough Galilean carpenter with holes in his hands and feet that quietly set in motion a movement to change the world.  The risen Lord I worship today is that carpenter.  He is alive and he is waiting for us to join him.