A statement from David A. Steele, general secretary of the Church of the Brethren
This Easter proclamation is both the foundation of our faith and source of our hope. While for us it transforms our way of living in the world, the world finds resurrection foolish. Resurrection contradicts experience and it confounds human reason. Yet Christians proclaim the resurrection of Jesus from the dead and the restoration of all things in Christ. The promised resurrection with Christ is more than an idea; it is a promise revealed in day-to-day living.
Death haunts our human imagination. It becomes normalized by half a million COVID-19-related deaths in the United States; through the loss of life as asylum seekers and refugees seek peace and security; and through mass shootings like those in Atlanta, Ga., and Boulder, Colo. Death seems like the only way out of no way to people who take their own lives because of emotional or mental struggles; to the government that enacts the death penalty in the name of justice; to women who find abortion to be the solution to health, economic, and relational realities. Too often the violence done to others reflects assumptions about who is worth grieving and who is not, as seen in the rise in hate crimes against Asian, Black, Indigenous, and LGBTQ Americans.
Yet those who follow Jesus Christ are a resurrection people. Our salvation through Christ is not an escape from pain, struggle, or death. Rather, our rising with Christ transforms the ways we see the world, live in it, and reimagine the possibilities for life and flourishing. As theologian James Cone has said, in Jesus we gain an imagination that “no one can control.” And as the apostle Paul quotes the prophets: “Death has been swallowed up in victory. Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” (1 Corinthians 15:54b-55).
In this season of Easter, may we reclaim our identity as people of the resurrection. May the promise of new life in Christ be more than doctrine and become a lived and embodied reality in our communities here and now.
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