Dear Friends of The Episcopal Church in South Carolina,
Mark’s Gospel makes it clear that the crucified and risen one is a person, Jesus of Nazareth. This is the Jesus born to Mary and formed in faith by her, Joseph and an entire community of faithful people. Mark is not indicating that it was an idea, or a philosophy, or a religion that was raised. It was Jesus.
This central Christian proclamation, Jesus is Risen, is essential to Christian faith because it is there we place our ultimate hope. We human beings sometimes fall into the idea that it is our inherent goodness and best intentions that will either set us right with God or even deliver us from a sometimes difficult and painful world. This is a nice sentiment, but experience tells us it is just not true. The front page of any news feed tells us this most days.
Our goodness, even when we are successful in that endeavor, does not deliver us from anything. What is good enough? If it is our collective goodness upon which human beings depend, we are in deep trouble. Even good people do nasty things to one another. The bold proclamation of Easter is that it is Jesus, the One raised by God, who delivers us and sets us free. We are even liberated from our good behavior being the measuring stick of our worthiness to God! Many Christians have gathered all of Lent to boldly get honest about our brokenness, fear, anxiety and self-doubt, and to name it all for what it is. This coming week, we will dare to gaze at a cross bearing the crucified Jesus who suffers the weight of everything in our humanity that falls short of God’s desire for us. Why? For love.
On Easter Day we come together to shout God’s victory, not ours. We are raised because Jesus is raised. It is Christ who resurrects our life, not our goodness. We are then called to live a life in thanksgiving for that gift with hearts bursting for joy, thereby bringing God’s transforming love to bear in all that we do. This new life then takes shape as we witness for God’s peace, God’s justice, and the defeat of anything that keeps God’s people in bondage.
So come. Join the Christian community as we worship the One who is hope. For as Christ is alive among us, we are given the assurance that nothing can snuff out the life in us that Jesus has resurrected.