He is Risen!

By Rev. David Wilson Rogers |  April 19, 2014

Jesus Christ died for our sins. He was buried. On the third day, he rose again. All these things occurred in accordance with the prophetic word of God as revealed in scripture. Paul summarized this central truth of Christianity in the 15th Chapter of 1 Corinthians. In this powerfully faithful summary of the amazing miracle Christians recall this weekend, Paul describes the events and their association with scripture as the first priority for believers.
Often, Christians overlook this first priority of faith. Perhaps we assume that since it is a priority of our faith, we do not give it much consideration, choosing rather to focus our efforts of faith on things other than a centrality of Jesus Christ. It happens in all sorts of relationships. Spouses deeply in love and genuinely committed to each other in the covenant of marriage, may tend to assume the centrality of their marriage vows and, over time and very unintentionally, shift focus onto other things. Over time, they look up and realize that they have fallen out of love, clashed where they were once supportive, or simply seen the beautiful nature of their marriage grow dull and mundane. Like the Christian that takes the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ for granted, they just allow distraction to creep in and the quality of their marriage suffers.
Perhaps the loss of priority comes when things that have legitimate importance are used as the actual driving force of one’s religious faith. Churches of all types can easily fall into this trap as promoting specific worship styles, social causes, political issues, or targeted programs become the face of the congregation. Churches posture themselves as the church to be, worship, and grow because of their beliefs, programs, or positions. Yet, like a marriage, again the relationship can suffer if single-issue causes serve as the glue to hold a couple together rather than the central covenant in which they were married in the first place.
In some cases, the central focus on Christ’s sacrifice and triumph over death is passed off by well-meaning Christians who want to make the ancient story more relevant and meaningful to a modern audience that is not interested in the religious mythology of the past. Rather than focusing on the often-debated interpretations of scriptural stories which defy contemporary scientific and rational logic, the focus shifts to a religious faith that simply inspires without relevant connection to the past. Yet, without the sacred mysteries and miracles of our Christian faith, Christianity becomes dangerously narcissistic—a spiritually empty religion that serves more to make one feel good in the moment rather that cherish the sacred memory of the faith. Again, as in a marriage, the moment the couple serves only to service their own individual needs, while overlooking the mysterious aspects of human attraction, the largely unexplainable emotional connections that bond two lives into one, the marriage loses its strength.
Easter can mean many things to many people. Among its many powerful aspects, the Easter celebrations can draw us away from the dangerous distractions and misguided priorities we tend to erect in our faith. Even when times arise that Christians fail to see eye-to-eye on points of theology, worship style, interpretation, or expression of authentic Christian faith, recalling the scriptural priority that Christ died, was buried, and rose again is critical. This fundamental truth of Easter is our true unifying principal.
            As we all faithfully prepare our hearts and minds for the triumphant celebration of Christ’s victorious resurrection, let us also proclaim our shared faith and strength in the glorious power we share in our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ!