Friday, April 18, 2014

Living The Resurrection

When my children were young and I read them Bible stories I always tried to give them my explanation of why each story was important in a way that I thought they could understand. When it comes to the story of Jesus’ death and resurrection, here is what I told them:

The rulers in Jerusalem put Jesus to death because they were afraid he and the people would try to take over running things and take away their wealth. The story goes that Mary and Martha went to make sure everything was alright with Jesus’ grave three days after he died because there had been threats that people might try to wreck it. When they got there they saw that it had been opened. Then Jesus’ soul appeared to them and comforted them because they were so sad about his death. That is what the Bible says.

I told my children that there may be no way to prove whether it is true or not. But the story of the miracle of his life after death guaranteed that people would continue to talk about him and share his teachings so we might keep learning how to treat each other better. Every time we do a good deed or help someone who does not have as much as we do, the way Jesus taught, he lives on. This is how he was truly resurrected. I believed then and I believe now this explanation.

I have been asked if I believe that Jesus is the Messiah. I have been asked if I believe that Jesus is the Christ, the son of God. I don’t think anyone knows for sure if Jesus is the Messiah who was foretold by prophets. To me Jesus’ sermons are more important than any title or distinction we could give him. They have been handed down through storytelling and the written word for more than two thousand years. They are what remain consistent through many translations. They are Divine because they call us to live with humble caring for all humanity. If I believe that there is that of God in everyone – and I do – surely this Jesus of Nazareth had that of God in him. But, surely we are all the sons and daughters of God.

And so, what does Jesus’ resurrection have to do with us? We are resurrected from our sins and sorrows every time we, as Jesus said, “do unto others as you would have others do unto you.” When we remember that Jesus said “What you do unto the least of these you do unto me” we are resurrected from our hate and fear.  

When we look for that of God in others with love and forgiveness in our hearts we find that our eyes are opened to the inherent equality and value of every human being. We come to know that the least of these are actually no less than we are. We are raised up into a way of living in harmony with all around us. Proving whether the Bible’s account of Jesus death is true is not important. Living the lessons Jesus shared is living the Resurrection.

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