Meditation written and read by Cathy Tamsberg.
“Christ the Lord is risen today! Alleluia!” In worship on this Easter Sunday, these words will resound in a Pullen sanctuary full of people. There is always joy on Easter Sunday even though some of us aren’t quite sure what we believe about it. Our lectionary texts from John 20:1-18 or Luke 24:1-12 tell the story of the women coming to the tomb and finding that Jesus is not there. In John’s gospel, they actually meet Jesus who shows them the nail scars in his hands and feet to prove who he is. In Luke’s account, the women report what they found to the men, who don’t believe them, and Peter goes to the tomb to see for himself. None of them encountered Jesus that day in Luke’s version of the story.
So did he literally rise from the dead and live again? Many in our 21st century scientific age doubt it while others believe it really happened even if they can’t explain it. But whatever we believe about a literal bodily resurrection, there is not much doubt that the disciples believed he did. They had seen him die on a cross, that terrible means of execution saved for criminals who were especially dangerous to the empire. And yet they also saw the empty tomb with their own eyes and later they met him in person.
Today’s question is this: Does it matter if Jesus was not physically resurrected? Does it change what we believe about him? For their part, the disciples believed it. Then they acted upon this belief and changed the world. Two thousand years later we’re still talking about Jesus, debating, even arguing about him. Why? Because of how Jesus lived rather than how he died.
So today as you celebrate Easter—and as you anticipate the new life that will soon come out of the ground in the many gardens planted around our community—reflect on what happens when people seriously believe life can overcome death. Join the friends of Jesus in acting as if this can happen even when there are signs to the contrary. Then commit yourself to act as if the loving, just commonwealth of God proclaimed by Jesus is already here. In the words from a stanza of our Easter hymn not included in our hymnal: “Thus to sing, and thus to love! Alleluia!”
This meditation is from “Lent: Sowing Season, Holy Time,” a collection of daily readings by Associate Pastor Cathy Tamsberg. Each day during Lent, from Ash Wednesday, February 13, 2013, to Easter Sunday, March 31, 2013, a new excerpt read by a member of the Pullen congregation will be made available. To hear each day’s reading as it is published, subscribe to Pullen’s RSS feed, or listen to the podcast in iTunes.