7 weeks of celebration

Jesus' triumph over death inspires long-lasting joy

Mar 28, 2016 by

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Jesus is risen! When you read this, Resurrection Sunday may have passed, but this is our declaration for the next seven weeks. The organizers of the church calendar understood that Christ’s triumph over death warranted far more than one day’s celebration. Eastertide lasts 50 days, from Easter to Pentecost.

How could we — when we have walked 40 days with Jesus through the desert, to Jerusalem and recalled his death for us — celebrate his return to life for only one day and then return to business as usual the next?

Yes, business will go on. The nations will keep raging. In the United States, we will continue to be pulled down a long and furious road to the November election, and who knows what lies beyond? Many have already confessed their spirits are feeling broken from all the fearful noise. And some have been hurt in more tangible ways, which should grieve us.

We need a 50-day celebration of Jesus’ resurrection. Amid a deluge of bad news, the good news that “Jesus is risen!” will clash discordantly. God’s message of peace and hope — that Jesus has defeated death — challenges the false gods of war, cruelty and self-exaltation.

In the recent film Risen, the followers of Jesus shrug off Roman threats of torture and death in the aftermath of his resurrection. They are too full of joy to formally defend their faith-become-sight, but their countenances say, “What impotent threats are these? You have done your worst to our Lord, and he is back! He has won!”

No matter how fearful the threats or how grievous the reality, we claim Jesus the death-beater as our King, just as a cloud of witnesses before us has done. If Jesus has indeed been raised from the dead, then we who follow him will share in that victory. What else really matters? Death is sentenced to death.

We now have seven weeks to proclaim in word and in deed this good news in the midst of the hateful rhetoric and violence surrounding us. Let’s take this time to be emissaries of light to a world that needs the message of reconciliation with God.

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