If we have a hope in Christ only in this life, then we deserve to be pitied more than anyone else. But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead. – 1 Corinthians 15:19-20
As many of you know, I keep my rent paid doing communications consulting, with a special emphasis in oncology and infectious disease treatment. Over the years I’ve had the honor of meeting dozens of individuals who are living examples of resurrection. Coming out of cancer, HIV/AIDS, hep C, and other deadly diseases is neither a simple nor painless process. Even with medical advances, mortal combat in one’s own body requires stamina, stubbornness, and—above all else—hope. When I speak with survivors, they often discuss a hope-filled transformative process of resurrection. The side effects may be brutal. But it will be worth it. The complications may be many. But it will be worth it. The demands may be grueling. But it will be worth it. Anticipation drives everything.
When we reduce Easter to a one-off event—a mystical moment when a left-for-dead human opens his eyes to discover he’s been completely transformed to live forever—we miss what resurrection’s purpose is. The prospect of defying death amplifies hope that keeps us alive. Maybe that’s why nobody knows what happens after we cross die; not knowing empowers each of us to shape our own hope with imagination that compels us to push ahead. As Paul says, if all we’re looking at is what we’ve got, we don’t have much. But as so many cancer and infectious disease survivors have taught me, hope keeps us alive if we don’t lose sight of what’s on the other side. Hope makes “living in the moment” possible because it’s never just this moment. It’s also, always what’s next.
This Sunday, we finish our Resurrection People conversation with a focus on hope. Come ready to sing and rejoice and fellowship together. (And bring a mom along; moms know a whole lot about hope!)
Peace, with much love,