The New Normal, Part III
No where in the New Testament do the disciples try to explain the resurrection, they didn’t need to. The resurrection explained itself! In fact, the entire New Testament, plus all of the subsequent history of the Church over the past two thousand years, is a commentary on Jesus’ words: “I am the resurrection and the life!” No event in history has shaped the world like Christ’s life, death, and resurrection. And the people alive when Jesus was resurrected had a new normal – not too dissimilar from our new normal today, albeit for very different reasons.
Today, health and medical organizations around the world are working day and night to stem the tide of this Coronavirus. Which, if not fought well, could become even more widespread. So we can see, much like Disney’s been telling us for years, it’s a small world after all. For better or for worse, we live in a global community. Thanks to inventions like the printing press (almost 600 years ago), and the internet today, we have an unprecedented ability to widely communicate ideas and beliefs. And because of airplanes, bullet trains, and other forms of travel, we can spread disease rapidly as well. Our global community is now normal – at least it has become such in our lifetimes.
Through the life, death, and resurrection of Jesus Christ, we are reminded of this simple fact about life – it does not go on forever. Death is a reality, and at some point, every one of us must face our own mortality. There is no military victory, no medical cure, and no global village that can prepare any individual to answer the ultimate questions in life. There is death, yes. But true life is found in Jesus Christ, who is the hope of our resurrection. And there will be a day when we will see Jesus face to face.
Scripture: John 20:19-23 (NLT)
That Sunday evening the disciples were meeting behind locked doors because they were afraid of the Jewish leaders. Suddenly, Jesus was standing there among them! “Peace be with you,” he said. As he spoke, he showed them the wounds in his hands and his side. They were filled with joy when they saw the Lord! Again he said, “Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I am sending you.” Then he breathed on them and said, “Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive anyone’s sins, they are forgiven. If you do not forgive them, they are not forgiven.”
Christ’s resurrection affirms our thought that death is not the end of a person’s story. And if we are Christians, then our story is rooted in the heart of God. It is true, of course, that a day will come when we’ll all die; and enough time will eventually pass that no living person will speak our name ever again. But the resurrection reaffirms that God will always know our name and that he will always love us. Simply because our hearts have stopped beating, does not mean the last chapter has been written for us. And so it is not death that we should fear, or our current hardships, or even Coronavirus; it is sin that we should fear. Death has been swallowed up in victory.
Even nature seems to shout out the loud news of resurrection at this time of the year, and you cannot help but recognize the new life that is all around. That which was dead, a seed, falls to the earth and gives birth to new life.
Nature does not know extinction; it only knows transformation. If God applies that principle to the least of his creation, doesn’t it make sense that he also applies it to the zenith of his creation, humankind?
Lord, we know that when you call us to wait, we often want to quickly find an answer. And when you command us to go forward, we often hesitate. Give us counsel on our decisions so that we will not be anxious, and the strong faith to know that you are at work in us to do your good will. When we chart our course forward, Lord, help us put our trust in you, as our faithful God. And Lord, whether we’re aware of it or not, we yearn for the time to be together and celebrate with you. Forgive us for our waywardness and worry. We pray this in the name of Jesus, our Messiah. Amen.