The Resurrection Is Radical
The women were terrified and bowed their faces to the ground, but the men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead? He is not here, but has risen.” – Luke 24:5 (NRSV)
After twelve months of this pandemic, if our greatest desire is to get back to where we were a year ago, we have missed the memo from the Holy Spirit.
The women get the news when they are looking for Jesus’ body in the empty tomb. “Why do you look for the living among the dead?” Why do you look backwards for God’s future?
If all you want is a sentimental sign of spring, I’m sure you can find a crocus growing in a graveyard somewhere, but the promise of new life is more than that.
What is dead is gone because it has been transformed into something entirely new. So much so that after the resurrection, when Jesus ran into his closest friends, they did not recognize him. They were looking for the living among the dead. They were massaging their memories, clutching to sacred scrapbooks from a pretend past, the kind that grows more perfect the further we are from it. When Jesus actually showed up on the street where they lived, they almost missed him.
New life does not mean more of the same. So why settle for some pre-pandemic nostalgic normalcy for your church, your children, your institutions, your society, your schools, or your street? Why do you look for the living among the dead?
Resurrection is the radical change that renders our run-of-the-mill desires unrecognizable. Christ is risen and there’s no going back.
Open my heart to your future, God. Amen.
Lillian Daniel is Senior Pastor at First Congregational Church in Dubuque, Iowa. She is the author of Tired of Apologizing for a Church I Don’t Belong To and When “Spiritual but not Religious” is Not Enough.