Today's Reading: Luke 24
The resurrection is hard to put into words. Part of that is that, as Christians, we've heard the message so many times that you start to wonder what do we say about that hasn't been said already. If Jesus' crucifixion and his status as king is the issue that separates disciples from non-disciples, it's his resurrection that secures our place in his throne room.
I find that one of the most difficult things about accepting Jesus' resurrection is that in our very limited and finite world, death is perceived as having the final word. It's one of the few things that every humanbeing will experience (the other being birth). It's a shared experience that is 100% unavoidable and doesn't care one bit about what we do with our lives. Everyone from the poorest of the poor, to the richest of the rich, the most sickly and the healthy, everyone experiences death.
Not long ago I was eating lunch with a couple pot-head friends of mine (and yes, that is a somewhat humorous thought) and the topic of death came up (because, why not). The reality is that one of them recently lost a good friend by heroine overdose, I was in the midst of ministering and supporting a family who just lost a loved one, and my own family is carrying the weight of watching a loved one slowly deteriorate and die. I mentioned that another friend of mine once observed that realistically we're all terminal. And as we sat there eating burritos, we talked about how we all approach and deal with death, and how death has the ability to put life in perspective. Death causes us to think a bit more about what, how, and why we do what we do - to cherish what we have.
But what if death isn't the last word? How does that change things?
On one hand, if could have the effect of minimizing the meaning and significance of what happens to us. But on the other hand, it could also bring a certain level of peace to our desperate minds.
Jesus' resurrection and the promise of our own show us that life is the controlling factor for us, not death. Our hope and promise is in the assurance that life goes on. In some ways, the change is subtle (we are now controlled by hope in life, rather than fear of death). But at the same time, it changes how we think, approach, and go through our existence. I was talking to my chiropractor the other day and he was talking about the move from this life to the next as a transition. He had a particularly scientific reason for it that was mostly about our inability to create or destroy matter, but it made sense. Physical death is a transition more than anything else; because of Jesus' own death and resurrection, we move from this life as we know it, to a different sort of life - a better life. And for that, we live now in thanksgiving and praise for what we know is still ahead.