Clarence’s Clarion Call – Give Me Resurrection

     by Clarence Rempel, WDC Conference Minister

I might have overdosed on Jesus’ passion, suffering and death during Holy Week. It began Maundy Thursday with a beautiful service of sharing a meal with foot washing, hearing the biblical passion narrative read, and receiving holy communion. I left thankful and ready for the surprise of resurrection. I am like a little kid. I know how the story ends, but I want to hear it again.

Good Friday I revisited the passion story in a silent movie from 1929 accompanied by dramatic organ music. Between observing scenes and reading scripts, this movie took an awfully long time to get to the glorious climax of the story. In fact, I learned a lot more about Mary Magdalene than I did about the resurrected Jesus.

At the sunrise service on Easter, we began by singing a song about Christ’s death and hearing the unfolding story of Passion Week beginning with Jesus’ entry into Jerusalem on a donkey. I was getting anxious for resurrection.

Easter Sunday afternoon we took in an exquisite concert of African-American spirituals at Bethany College, Lindsborg, Kansas, focusing on Christ’s birth, suffering, and death. Wait a minute! What happened to the resurrection?

I relish the Apostle Paul’s concise statement of the good news of Jesus Christ in I Corinthians 15:3-8. One critical verse about Christ’s death – “Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures” – and five verses about Christ’s resurrection beginning with – “he was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures.” And then fifty more verses about resurrection. I like that ratio.

The Apostle Paul goes on to make the reckless, all-or-nothing claim that without the resurrection you can just forget about the whole salvation-in-Jesus thing. “And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins. Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all others,” (I Corinthians 15:17-19).  Amen! Give me resurrection!

Resurrection means that Jesus is indeed the “Lord and Messiah” he claimed to be (Acts 2:36). Give me resurrection!

Resurrection means that the victory over sin and death has been won, and we can already live in the way of righteousness (Romans 6:4-13). Give me resurrection!

Resurrection means that our bodies are precious to God and deserve to be cared for now and will be restored in the future (I Corinthians 15). This is in contrast to the Graeco-Roman philosophy that matter is evil and the only hope for the soul is to escape the evil of matter and the stranglehold of the body. God’s global restoration project is not about escaping the world of matter. Resurrection means that the injustices and evils of this present world must now be addressed with God’s healing and hope. Give me new life. Give me resurrection!

Resurrection means that none of our work done for Jesus in the name of Jesus will ever be lost (I Corinthians 15:58). Every smile of hospitality and every dollar of charity will be caught up into the stream of God’s expanding kingdom that’s flowing through our world and into eternity. Give me resurrection!