The Reality of the Resurrection

By: William D. Shiell

Students and faculty are on Spring Break this week. In the midst of a busy season of new beginnings, our campus pauses to breathe. On the first resurrection Sunday night, however, the disciples gathered for another reason. Huddled in fear, they worried about the implications of Jesus’ death. In John 20:19-23, Jesus appeared to them personally. He breathed the Holy Spirit on them and commissioned them as resurrection ambassadors. Resurrection wasn’t an event reserved for Jesus alone or a promise to be saved for a reunion with heavenly loved ones. Resurrection is a mission for the disciples to share with the world. Armed with the powerful force of forgiveness, we breathe new life into the dry bones of death. We are the church.

Easter makes it possible for the church to live—and be reborn—again. People once thought to be paralyzed by fear are brought back to life again with hope. Sinners and saints convert, turning their lives over to Jesus and living with hope in the midst of terror and disease. Those left for dead on the doorstep of religion find new vitality in church. People who would normally turn to partisanship suddenly come alive with the profound reality of Jesus’ life in them. Those who have been contemplating a call to service suddenly realize the obstacles in their path are removed. People hear God’s call, and they say, “Yes.”

Last year, a husband and wife who were normally in the choir loft, missed singing for Easter Sunday due to illness. Because they weren’t contagious, they sat in the balcony in church and worshiped from the pew. A few weeks later they made an appointment to come to my office. They reported that something happened to them in worship. They heard God’s voice speaking to them. They sensed that “a stone had been rolled away” from their path. God had been calling them to serve on mission, and they were giving their lives to go to South Africa. Just like that, they were renewed resurrection agents.

You don’t have to go to South Africa to hear God’s voice out of the empty tomb. Where did you see God’s presence or understand God’s message during Lent and Easter Sunday? Has an obstacle been removed so that you now can walk forward in faith? Jesus has appeared. Take a deep breath.

 

 

March 28, 2016

William D. Shiell

President, and Professor of Pastoral Theology and Preaching

ABOUT William



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