“The Resurrection of the Body:  Christ is STILL Risen!”

“The Resurrection of the Body: Christ is STILL Risen!”

April/May 2020

Dear Resurrection Christians, Loved Ones of the Risen Christ:

“Alleluia! Christ is Risen! He is Risen indeed! Alleluia!”

               This past Lent and now Eastertide find us facing some rather unsettling uncertainties and fears. What will the COVID-19 virus mean for the future of our world, our nation, our community, our congregation, and our own family? Nothing makes us more uncertain and frightened than those aspects of life that are not under our control. Let’s face it: we like to be in control, and this virus has shown us that control is an illusion.

               Uncertainties are real sources of fear. Even if we have not faced medical uncertainties stemming from this terrible pandemic, it is unheard of to live as a fallen creature in this fallen world without having encountered some sort of uncertainty. Job loss or a pay cut causes questions about how long one will be able to pay the bills before the collectors come. A serious conflict with a loved one or a sin committed by or against them causes uncertainty as to whether or not the relationship can be restored.

               But thanks be to God, we have the certainty of a blesséd eternity that overcomes all the uncertainties of life—yet we are given so much more than even that! For the merciful, forgiving, and restoring work of God in Christ also overcomes all the certainties of this fallen world! Sin and death and all the evils that come with them are unavoidable certainties in this life. But all have their end in Christ! “In the World you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.” (St. John 16:33b) 

               Revelation 21 paints a beautiful picture of the results of Christ’s overcoming the world: a new heaven and a new earth! The dwelling place of God coming down to be with us! All tears wiped away! No more mourning, crying, or pain! “Behold, I am making all things new.” (Rev 21:5)

               This is what we celebrate in Easter! This is what we confess when we proclaim in the Creed, “I believe in the resurrection of the body and the life of the world to come. ”  We find this certainty given to us in God’s Word and Sacraments! 

               For many already impacted by this virus, there are certainties: dismal certainties. As of this writing, there have been over 206,000 deaths worldwide from this virus; almost 55,000 of those in the

US. These numbers frighten us. There are hundreds of thousands of families who are mournfully certain they will not be able to hug or hold their loved one any longer in this life. Further, and more generally, it is a sad certainty in this fallen world that many broken relationships will never be repaired, not everyone seeking a paid job will find one, and some will forever be wrestling with some trial or another.

               But we have a greater certainty, a certainty that comforts us in our grief, meets doubt with truth, and gives hope for us to endure! That certainty is found in the “living and active, sharper than any double edged sword” Word of God!

               Uncertainty and doubt are great contributors to the fallen frailty we experience in this life. They cloud our vision and darken our world so that we often cannot see the world unfolding ahead of us. But God’s Word is a lamp to our feet and a light to our path. The light of Christ is not overcome by any darkness (St. John 1:5), but shines ahead and over the shadow of this world to the hope of the life to come.

               Through Holy Baptism, through Holy Absolution, through Holy Communion, and through the ongoing proclamation of the Word of God, God continually delivers Christ, His Cross, and His Resurrection to you. Through these means, the Holy Spirit holds us firm in the faith. In this Word we find redemption and eternal life; life where the perishable has put on the imperishable, and the mortal has put on immortality (1 Cor. 15:53)!

               We may never in this life be certain of our health and wellbeing, nor of our plans for “success.” But, we “believe in the resurrection of the Body” (cf. 1 Cor. 15:12ff)! We know for certain that—for all of us who are in Christ—health and wellbeing will be restored, and every last cell of our frail flesh will be made new in glory on the Last Day. The brokenness between people may well remain in this life. But then all brokenness will be repaired, as the full realization of our oneness in Christ will be fully revealed at His return.

               We are called as Christians to “fear, love, and trust in God above all things” (Explanation to the 1st Commandment). Fear—in this context—means to “take God seriously as our Creator and Judge.” Apart from this fear of God, we need have no other fear! St. John writes, “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear” (1 John 4:18). We know who the Victor is! We know our future is secure in Him! We need not fear.

               It is with the Cross and Resurrection of Christ in view that we rejoice and pray with hope and certainty these words of the Psalmist, “Bless the LORD, O my soul, and all that is within me, bless his holy name!  Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits, who forgives all your sin, who heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with steadfast love and mercy, who satisfies you with good so that your youth is renewed like the eagle’s . . .” (Psalm 103:1-5).

“Alleluia! Christ is Risen! He is Risen indeed! Alleluia!”

                                                                                          Your servant in Christ,

Pastor Steven J. Anderson

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