Saturday, March 30, 2013
Resurrection Happened, Happens and Still Needs to Happen
A very long time ago, I was on staff at the Community UCC Church of San Carlos, CA. I worked for any amazing woman who was the pastor there, the Rev. Diane Dulin. I've often mused that while I was there as both youth director and church secretary, I learned more about ministry and the life and role of the pastor than in any seminary course or workshop or training session. One of the things I remember in great detail is my own role of typing her sermons for her every week. She was meticulous, organized and I could sense the care and heart that she put into all of her sermons. One week, when we were conversing, she mentioned to me that one of the parishoners commented to her as they were exiting the sanctuary after a Sunday morning worship, saying in a rather skeptical and chiding tone, "You preach these sermons like you really BELIEVE that stuff in the Bible." (a bit of a paraphrase after all these years, I'm sure) She was somewhat bemused but also a bit saddened by the comment. In my naivete and late-20s, I was horrified!
Well, that was over 25 years ago. Since then, I've seen a lot more that would argue against what is in Scripture, lived a lot more life that would suggest that most of the Scripture is hogwash and wondered a lot about the role of miracles and prayer and all sorts of theological doctrine in our everyday lives. On this weekend, I find myself wondering about the Resurrection. When I preach it, do I have people out in the congregation who could exclaim to me, "You preached that sermon like you really believe the Resurrection!"? I hope so, because, I really do believe it is the core and center of all that holds our lives and our faith together, my life and my faith. When the disciples and the women reached the tomb, their own lives were crumbling, and they were probably asking a lot of the same questions we were asking. It wasn't just that their best friend, teacher, brother, child or mentor had just died. The world around them was in turmoil. Their own lives were threatened. They probably didn't know what to think or say or believe. Some ran scared, others betrayed, others denied and some returned to tell the story.
Today, we see evidence of the need for Resurrection nearly everywhere we turn. All creation moans and groans and waits for new life. Wars and rumors of wars seem never to cease. Walls divide and look impermeable. Diseases like cancer and HIV/AIDS and heart disease appear nearly incurable. Addictions, abuse, and mental illness gets mentioned in hushed and secretive tones. Droughts, unseasonable storms and all types of severe weather phenomena are commonplace. All of God's children are still not treated as equals and their love is not honored as equal love.
We also know stories where the impossible and improbable overcome light in the shadows, tales of empty tombs, and witnessed accounts of love defeating hatred and fear. This very day, the Klan scheduled to march in Memphis and just across town people are meeting at an anti-racism conference. All over people are marching, running, biking, hiking, walking and pledging to fund research and treatment for diseases like AIDS, cancer, MS, ALS, Diabetes, etc. People like Rosalyn Carter speak up for people with mental illness and speak to the systems that can provide assistance and interpretation. Physical walls like the Berlin Wall and virtual ones like Aparthied in South Africa have crumbled into the past. Wars have ended. Warring neighbors have reconciled. Love has found a way where there has been no way.
Tomorrow, I hope and pray that someone, anyone, if even just one, will in some small way, hear the meager and frightfully inadequate words of this preacher and be able to say "It sounds like you really believe this Resurrection story." and "Christ is Risen! Christ is risen, indeed!" Past, present and future....