Easter starts rather than ends on Easter. In fact, tomorrow is the “Third Sunday of Easter” implying that what we celebrate on the first Easter Sunday is meant to be consequential in the weeks that follow.
We don’t finish our Easter service and roll the stone back over the tomb to make it ready for next year, but what happened in that tomb – we believe, an unparalleled miracle – is meant to bleed into our daily lives throughout the year.
So, we're taking time each Sunday during Easter to reflect upon the resurrection in a way that matters on a Thursday.
You see, orthodoxy is easy.
Believing that something has happened, such as Jesus rising from the dead, while perhaps intellectually difficult, doesn’t demand or cost us much of anything. We can show up on Easter Sunday with a firm conviction that Christianity’s most astounding claim actually happened and yet go to work the next morning without that truth demanding anything of us or really altering the trajectory of our lives.
In fact, in churches where orthodoxy is a, if not the principle value – churches that really really really "believe all the Bible teaches" and adhere to the most sophisticated and elaborate confessions of faith – are often communities that are intolerant of dissent and where members feel unsafe. The neighborhoods these churches inhabit aren’t typically any better off for them being located there.
Intown is a church that is intentionally in relationship with a denomination rooted in the historic Christian faith and which has an identifiable confession that it, and therefore we, adhere to. This isn’t a burden to bear but an exercise of joyful alignment and submission. But, at the same time, believing the right stuff is one of the easier parts of being a church.
What sometimes feels impossibly hard is to believe, feel, and act – all at the same time – in accordance with the call of God (IOW, to be a church marked by orthodoxy, orthopathos, and orthopraxy.) and in a way that the Easter Resurrection matters on a Thursday.
Our hope is that in believing that Jesus rose again that we would also long for and act towards bringing new life into the midst of: dying relationships and marriages, decaying bodies and instances of mental disorder, disintegrating urban fabric due to systemic injustice and inequality, as well as in those places of deadness in our individual spiritual lives.
Tomorrow we’re looking at the very strange episode at the tail end of the Gospel of Mark where two women go to the tomb where Jesus was buried and find it empty. We're told that they’re scared to death, and then, nothing happens! Mark doesn’t tell us what happens next.
Is this an invitation perhaps to imagine what should happen next? To ask, “resurrection? so what?” in their situation and then in ours.