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Resurrection – A Personal Experience

April 24, 2017

We have just celebrated Easter and Jesus’ resurrection – the central tenet of Christianity. The familiar stories in the Gospels, describe an empty tomb and actual physical appearances of Jesus, but they were written some 40 to 70 years later and appear to be later additions to the story.  Paul, writing in his letters only 20 to 27 years after the crucifixion, never mentions a tomb or bodily appearances, nor does he describe the risen Jesus as a physical human being.  Paul describes Jesus’ appearances to himself as visions.  The author of John refers to Jesus more mystically as being “raised into God” [John 20:17].  To Paul and all those early “Christians” (they were all still Jews), the resurrection was a profound personal experience that convinced them that God’s spirit that was in Jesus was now in them. It was the mystery of this spiritual experience of resurrection that transformed their lives, and still transforms each of us. In the Gospel of John, the resurrection is succinctly described when Jesus says “I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you.” [John 14:20]

All this is so beautifully expressed in Brian Wren’s hymn which we sang as a closing hymn in our church the Sunday after Easter. It is the Easter message written for us in today’s world. It is the heart of the Easter story, the meaning of the Resurrection, and an Affirmation of My Faith.

Christ is alive! Let Christians sing.
The cross is empty to the sky.
Let streets and homes with praises ring.
His love in death will never die.

Christ is alive! No longer bound
to distant years in Palestine,
he comes to claim the here and now
and dwell in every place and time.

Not throned afar, remotely high,
Unmoved by human pains,
but daily, in the midst of life,
our Savior in the God-head reigns.

In every insult, rift, and war,
where color, scorn, or wealth divide,
he suffers still, yet loves the more,
and lives, though ever crucified.

Christ is alive and comes to bring
good news to this and every age,
til earth and all creation ring
with joy, with justice, love and praise.

by Brian Wren 1968.  Methodist Hymnal 318

Loren Bullock
April 24, 2017

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