A social revolution [is not] the only one pending: there is a horror of great darkness abroad; Christianity is on its trial; and more than that, the most elementary belief in, and worship of, Almighty God. The judgment to come, the resurrection of the body, the life everlasting,––these fundamental articles of a Christian's faith have come to be pooh-poohed; and this, not only amongst profane persons and ungodly livers, but amongst people of reputation both for goodness and wisdom.
This weekend, we who name Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord remember His passion and resurrection, and we do so as a large but diminishing percentage of the population. Why the decline? And how might we preserve the faith for our children and their children? True, there are some hedonists among us who would defy any bounds placed on self and any God who would say “Thou shalt not.” Yet, it seems likely that there are many who long to be free from the tyranny of self, if only offered a way out. Tragically, too often, a generation living in a consuming society see in the faith of their grandmothers an ideology of self-satisfaction rather than a self-sacrificing river of life.
What if the power of the resurrection is more than the ultimate apologetic proof? What if it is more even than a down payment on heaven? What if the power that raised Jesus from the dead is present now to transform a life? How would such a transformed life appear? And what if the power that raised Jesus from the dead is present now to transform a community (a church, a school, a home)? How would such a transformed community appear? Would it not be the salt of the earth, the light of the world? But look around. Where is it to be found? Where is it exemplified?
We believe, my friends, but are we being transformed? Do we know ourselves to be different by the workings of the power of His resurrection within? Do our children and the world see us so? Can we each say, “I am what I am only by the power of Christ’s resurrection, and apart from Him, I am inexplicable even to myself?" Do our children and our neighbors see us as being transformed; not having arrived, but clearly on the road? Our community, is it being transformed and becoming an ever more potent instrument of transformation, inexplicable apart from the power of His resurrection?
To be sure, none of us is completely transformed, but have we even made a true beginning? Are we pressing on; upward and inward, according to the power of His resurrection at work in us? Do our children and our neighbors bear witness to this?
There is of course a price to be paid. Easter Sundays only come after Good Fridays. The power of His resurrection, only comes to those who know Him and are willing to follow after Him, sharing in His death, most likely a thousand tiny, daily deaths. Will we die with Him that we might rise with Him?
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne'er so vile.