But I wasn't going to be a no-show on Easter of all Sundays, so I started preparing. I found the song in, no kidding, the oldest hymnal we have at home, which only fueled my fires of lethargy.
And because I am so overcommitted, I was also working on a Sunday school lesson to teach that morning on the topic of resurrection. I inwardly rolled my eyes at the predictability of it all.
Somewhere along the way of learning about the awesome sacrifice of the cross, I only skimmed over Christ's resurrection. Truly, at the age of 5, there was no way I could grasp its meaning, so I was only taught to believe THAT it happened, without any understanding of WHY it happened. I guess I relegated that moment to the ranks of one of Jesus' other miracles - namely, that he did it to prove he was God's Son and that he possessed all of God's attributes of power and supremacy over creation.
But somewhere in the text of 1 Corinthians 15, verses jumped out as never before. The text says, "If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins," and, "If in this life only we have hoped in Christ, we are of all people most to be pitied."
Other notable theologians may have already stumbled on this truth, but....I'm a little s-l-o-w. Yes, Christ had to die to receive the punishment for our sins. But, our ultimate punishment is our own physical death. Guess what! You're still going to die! So am I. And all the things that lead up to that death - illness, toil, human frailty and aging - they are all a part of the punishment. Christ's death was only a step in the process. He had to rise again in order to release us from the finality of that punishment. Death is a speedbump for those who have put their faith in Christ.
I have spent the last few years observing the gradual deterioration of my father as disease overtakes his body and mind. He grows weaker, frailer, more confused each year. What he is going through really brings Paul's words in 2 Corinthians 4 to light: "Though outwardly we are wasting away, inwardly we are being renewed day by day, for our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all." The frailty brought on by Parkinson's Disease is the curse of sin taking it's full effect on my father while it can.
Did you catch that?
While it can!!!!!
On whatever day the Lord chooses to take him, or any of us for that matter, home, he won't wake up in eternity with a stagger, a slur, a slump in his shoulders. He will wake up in his glorified body. I am convinced more than ever that heaven will not be full of a bunch of ephemeral spirits and ghosts of people who once lived. We will be there in bone and skin with all senses tingling as we enjoy the fulness of God's creation the way He intended as even creation itself is fully restored.
Christ rose, not just because He's awesome and He could. He rose because He must. Here is the victory, not that Christ died for us alone but that He also busted through the once fastened doors of death as if to say, "This is only a breezeway. Pass on through."
Happy Easter Every Day.