Shekinah Glory

Encountering the Risen One
April 24, 2011, 4:51 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

Jesus Christ is raised today! Alleluia! Alleluia! Life has overcome death. The grave is no longer the final victor. It is in that very sentiment that we gather and celebrate. We are less interested in proving a historical fact than in encountering the risen Christ in our lives. Then we will fulfill the full story of Easter.

It wasn’t until the disciples encountered the risen Christ that they were transformed from followers of little faith into disciples who spread Christ’s message around the world. We know that in the midst of persecution and death those who followed Jesus scattered and hid themselves. They left Jesus alone in his most dire hour. They faced his capture and death with resignation and disappointment. They were a scattered disunity that appeared to proclaim not only Christ’s death to the principalities and the powers of this world, but a defeat. They seemed to resign to the crippling defeat of power over mercy, love, grace, forgiveness, love and abundant life. Theirs was denial, betrayal and fear that almost overwhelmed them.

Yet Christ did appeared to them. In his appearance was the vilification of his message, his teaching and abundant life. He truly was the Son of God. This revelation steeled the courage of His band of disciples and caused them to search their minds over the actions and teaching that their rabbi had imparted to them. If it was not for their encounter with the risen Christ we would not have the gospel story. If Paul would not have encountered the risen Christ we would not have the epistles. They encountered Christ and it in turned changed the nature of their lives and faith from that point forward.

Easter is a time of encounter. The disciples and the women encounter the living Christ and reformed his movement toward love that has grown over the years. 2,000 years later we are witnesses to the same transforming power of encountering the risen Christ. This encounter is more powerful than any government, army or multinational corporation. There is nothing stronger than the love that is shown to us through the revelation of an encounter with Christ. As Napoleon once aptly observed:

I know men and I tell you that Jesus Christ is no mere man. Between Him and every other person in the world there is no possible term of comparison. Alexander, Caesar, Charlemagne, and I have founded empires. But on what did we rest the creation of our genius? Upon force. Jesus Christ founded His empire upon love; and at this hour millions of men would die for Him.

Any encounter with the living Christ will inevitably change our view, our living and our relationships. It fuses our story with Christ’s story of life, death and resurrection. Our Easter encounters force us into a re-examination of all Christ’s earlier stories, miracles, parables and sayings with resurrection lenses. These texts become more than wise sayings, of a sage or rabbi, they transform into how to become a disciple of the merciful and forgiving one.

Our failures, short-comings, challenges, lack of faith and disappointments may always remain in our midst. Yet, if we remain fixated upon them they will become like quicksand, the self-fulfilling prophecies of doom and misery that only the world provides. In the sprigs of new life and resurrection that we see in our encounters with Jesus we are given the promise of transforming death into life. It is a promise that failure will be turned into breath and life.

In a stirring description of Risen Life the Desert monk Carlo Carretto reminds us:

Every newly-opened leper hospital is an act of faith in the resurrection.
Every peace treaty is an act of faith in the resurrection.
Every agreed commitment is an act of faith in resurrection.
When you forgive your enemy
When you feed the hungry
When you defend the weak
You believe in resurrection.
When you have the courage to marry
When you welcome the newly-born child
When you build your home
You believe in resurrection.
When you wake at peace in the morning
When you sing to the rising sun
When you go to work with joy
You believe in resurrection.

We can do all these things and many more when we encounter the risen Christ.


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