But if it is preached that Christ has been raised from the dead, how can some of you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? If there is no resurrection of the dead, then not even Christ has been raised. And if Christ has not been raised, our preaching is useless and so is your faith. More than that, we are then found to be false witnesses about God, for we have testified about God that he raised Christ from the dead. But he did not raise him if in fact the dead are not raised. For if the dead are not raised, then Christ has not been raised either. And if Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile; you are still in your sins.Then those also who have fallen asleep in Christ are lost. If only for this life we have hope in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied.
But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have fallen asleep.
Watching a friend or relative journey through the loss of a child is a helpless feeling. As bystanders, we may share the grief, but it’s different for us. We may remember on occasion the sharp hurt of the loss of someone so young. The parent or close relative, however, remembers with every breath. We think about the loss when we see a photo or hear a story related to the loss. But they never get a break from feeling the loss. Grief is like that. It can consume. It can make one lose perspective and focus.
But that’s where God comes in.
We just celebrated Easter. We were reminded of God’s promises fulfilled through the incredible sacrifice of Jesus Christ as he suffered and died on the cross. We, as bystanders, are with the mourning friends and family of Jesus. Some think the story ended there; some would live in the grief and guilt forever. But we keep reading, we keep trusting. Then on Sunday morning, we witness the RESURRECTION. We see the victory over sin. We see that good conquers evil. And that’s where we live.
Is there still suffering and dying in this world, in our everyday lives? Yes. Do we, and friends and family, face illnesses, loss, brokenness? Yes. But we can’t stop there. We need to press on and to keep trusting. We are part of the body of Christ. We share in the death, but also in the resurrection. That seems to be the power here, in that we experience BOTH. We walk with our brothers and sisters who are struggling and we bring hope. Psalm 114 reminds us that Judah (God’s people) became God’s sanctuary. Israel had experienced slavery in Egypt and forty years in the wilderness. They knew what suffering was. Yet they had seen the faithfulness of God, and looked forward to the Promised Land.
God dwells in us. God is in us, so who can be against us? We can bring hope to the hurting. We can be a safe place for those in need. We stand in awe of the God who created the world. We worship the God who loved us enough to die for us. We give thanks for our God who is powerful enough to conquer suffering and death. We press on as people of the resurrection, so that we can “experience life to the full”. And it is the resurrection that brings the completeness; yet, it’s the death and suffering that grounds us and gives us the full perspective of life and resurrection. Giving thanks for the resurrection!
When Israel came out of Egypt,
Jacob from a people of foreign tongue,
Judah became God’s sanctuary,
Israel his dominion.
The sea looked and fled,
the Jordan turned back;
the mountains leaped like rams,
the hills like lambs.
Why was it, sea, that you fled?
Why, Jordan, did you turn back?
Why, mountains, did you leap like rams,
you hills, like lambs?
Tremble, earth, at the presence of the Lord,
at the presence of the God of Jacob,
who turned the rock into a pool,
the hard rock into springs of water.