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He is risen indeed

Pretend for a moment that you are meeting a friend following our recent celebration of the resurrection of Christ from the dead.

You have a choice with how to greet and be greeted: “Happy Easter” and “Happy Easter to you” or “He is risen” and “He is risen, indeed.” (“He,” of course, is Jesus.) Neither option is wrong or bad, but which one seems more meaningful? Which option sings the glory of our Easter season? Yes, friends, Jesus is risen. He is risen, indeed.

The resurrection is the reason for the season. It is our hope, our promise, our life and our goal. Jesus’ whole plan was to bring the Kingdom of God to us and make us a part. The whole world changed when God overcame death itself for us and provided a new life to share as God’s family. We are a people of the resurrection, sisters and brothers in the resurrection of Christ and part of the power of the resurrection.

As people of the resurrection, this is our direction in following Jesus. We are not just following aimlessly but with a clear vision of God’s redeeming, transforming, life-giving work. We are marked as resurrection people if we are of Christ. Paul said in Romans 6 that if we are baptized in Christ, we are baptized into his death. Then, as he was raised so are we into new life. This is who we are now. We should never pretend to be anything less. We should never give ourselves over to death, division and destruction.

As sisters and brothers in the resurrection of Christ, we are not only in Jesus’ life, but we are in it together. Our connection is the great and glorious reality of life in our Lord. It has never been about just you and just me. It has always been about us together. Too much of this world seeks to pit one against another: politics, nationalism, sexism, racism, classism, religious strife, you name it.

The world inherently operates in self-serving and self-seeking systems. It is always trying to bring us to blows and make one better than another. If God does not consider one better than another, how can we? That seems like heresy, to act like we are better judges than God. Maybe we should admit the truth; that we are sisters and brothers together in the resurrected life of our Christ.

As people who are literally part of the resurrection, this is easy. We are alive, and we will live forever. Christ has given us the capacity to build up one another in lifegiving ways. We are people who can value life and guard its worth in all people. Death is not our enemy because it does not extinguish life. We are much more dangerous in that regard, devaluing and demeaning far too often. As people of the resurrection, however, our commitment is to share in greater life.

He is risen, my friends! Yes, he is risen, indeed! Blessings to you all.

REV. DR. PETER SMITH is the transitional pastor for Farmville Presbyterian Church. He can be reached at pastorfpc@centurylink.net.