The Rector's Column March 2016

Rise 

by The Rev. Dr. Jason L. Parkin

It is a simple, and perhaps bittersweet, truth that the cornerstone of the Christian faith is an event no one witnessed. So far as we know, no human eye beheld the Resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth from the dead; not a single mortal soul was present when he cast off his burial cloths and rose to new life. We don't know exactly when it happened. We don't know exactly how it happened; and, in fact, the earliest reference to the Resurrection, that of St. Paul, makes no mention of an empty tomb at all.

But the truth is that in a way it hardly matters how the body of Jesus came to be missing from the tomb, because in the last analysis what convinced his first followers that he had risen from the dead was not the absence of his corpse but his living presence. And so it has been ever since.

In other words, ours is not a faith of the empty tomb. Ours is a faith in a living Lord, in a Savior who has with his own body and life bridged the chasm between God and the human race, who has reconciled us to our God and given to all who turn to God new hope, new meaning, and new life. How he rose 2,000 years ago matters less than that he lives in us today. And what will convince those around us that Jesus is risen is not stories about the Resurrection, but, rather, lives transformed by his presence and his life: lives filled with hope in the midst of circumstances and situations that try to discourage hope; lives filled with self-offering and service in a culture that too frequently dismisses selflessness; lives filled with peace in the midst of a broken and anguished world. This is our calling and our joy: to continue the Resurrection in our own lives, to become God's messengers and agents of new life to one another and to all.

He rose. We may not know the facts, but we know the truth: he rose. Beyond the somberness of our Lent and Holy Week journeys; beyond reason; even beyond hope, he offers us new life and calls us to carry his life and love to others.