Christ is risen! Christ is risen indeed!
The resurrection of Jesus Christ signals God’s victory over the powers of sin and death. In his passion and death on the cross Jesus took the very worst of the world, all of its sin and evil, into himself. He bore the brunt of our evil and destroyed its power to control and manipulate once and for all. In the process, he suffered a most awful and humiliating death. He rose on the third day to give the world life as God intends; life free from the powers of sin, fear, and death. When we say and celebrate, “Christ is risen! Christ is risen indeed!”, we claim the reality of that resurrection life for ourselves and for the world for which Christ lived and died. We are set free to live and die for that same world. This is the good news Christ gives us when we remember and celebrate his passion and resurrection.
We read in the news that the 4000th US soldier was killed in Iraq over the weekend. While Christians in the US were celebrating the Paschal mystery of Christ’s suffering, death and resurrection the 4000th of our sons and daughters serving in the military was killed in action. While Jesus’ death and resurrection did indeed defeat death, death remains very real and painful.
My congregation recognized and gave thanks for the safe return from Iraq of one of our young men. He is a Marine who served in Falujah. We praised God for his service and for his safe return to his family and home. At the same time we acknowledged that he will soon be re-deployed. But no mention was made of the 4000 soldiers and marines who will not be returning to their loved ones. Nor did we acknowledge the countless numbers of Iraqi children, women and men who have been killed and displaced by the war.
It seems the US church loves to celebrate God’s goodness and grace that is profoundly revealed in Christ’s death and resurrection. But we are silent in the face of suffering and death all around us. The church is particularly silent when it comes to the war in Iraq; this completely unnecessary war. How can we celebrate resurrection when we are silent and blind to so much suffering and death?
Imagine what could happen if all the Christians in the USA stood up and told the President that we will no longer sacrifice our daughters and sons to his war. Imagine what could happen if all the Christians in the USA stood together with one voice and cried out in the name of the Lord of Life, the one who is the resurrection and the life, “STOP THE KILLING NOW!”