I have set before you an open door which no one can shut. Revelation 3:8
Today I’m going to talk about the resurrection. Today … seventeen days after Easter, we’re going to think about the resurrection of Jesus. I can’t think of a better time. To free the resurrection from Easter is to make it real. No more metaphor. No new life, no chirping birds, no rising sun, no new beginnings, no Easter songs, no pastel colors, no bunnies, no eggs, no “The Lord is risen! The Lord is risen indeed!” chants. It’s seventeen days after Easter. Either the resurrection affects my life today or it doesn’t. If it doesn’t then pack it in with the left over pastel grass and the colorful baskets until next year. If it does, then walk through the door.
Or as John Updike has expressed so well in his poem, “Seven Stanzas at Easter”
Let us not mock God with metaphor,
analogy, sidestepping transcendence;
making of the event a parable, a sign painted in the
faded credulity of earlier ages;
let us walk through the door.
The impact on the lives of the disciples as well as on us is whether we walk through this door. What effect does the resurrection have on my life seventeen days after Easter? The same effect it has every day of the year if we walk through the door.
My wife, Marti, has created an image of a dead Christianity that she often refers to as prevalent among all of us. In this image, everyone is on the front side of the cross. Maybe Jesus is up there on it, or maybe He is not, but we are all seated in folding chairs, looking up. On our laps are notebooks. We are there to take notes — someone is teaching — fill in the blanks. Its a study guide that leads us up to the cross, but never through it. In Marti’s illustration, no one ever leaves. It’s all well and good, this focus on the cross, but at some point, we are to get up and walk through the cross to the other side. The key is to get to the other side of the cross because that’s where the power is — resurrection power.
On the other side is transformation. On the other side is action. No more taking notes. On the other side we are living in the power. Leave your notebook behind; this is where we experience Easter every day. Power over ourselves. Power to do the right things for the right reasons. Power to overcome. Power to love and obey. On one side is grace (thank God because we all need it), on the other side is grace turned outward.
Seventeen days after Easter. Now is when it really counts or it doesn’t. “Let us not mock God with metaphor … Let us walk through the door.”