Another Easter festival has come and gone. For many people today, nothing has changed as a result of Jesus' death and resurrection. The same could have been said on the first Easter Monday. During the next forty years Jerusalem was to be the scene of terrible massacres and acts of great cruelty. It may seem that the promises of the Gospel were really just words.
But then, what about the claims of those who were witnesses of Jesus both during his life and death and his vindication? The early Christian communities witnessed by their lives to the good news of Jesus. The letters of Paul and the later gospels tell us of the God who has been revealed in Jesus as the God who is love. He is the meaning of our life in this world.
Christian worship is the key to understanding the place of the Gospel in our world today. That means it is the worship of those who believe that Jesus is alive - he has been vindicated by the Father.
But we have to admit that much of the tradition of Christian worship throughout the centuries has attempted to provide a rationale for the fact that all evil has not been overcome - we are still people who not only experience suffering and death but who actually cause suffering to others. So Christian worship has more often than not been overweighted with expressions of sin and repentance and with an exaggerated emphasis on the death and sufferings of Jesus for which we, as a human race, were responsible. The psychologists recognize that sort of guilt complex. It must often seem to others that Christians do not really believe that Jesus is alive!
Today we need to find ways of presenting the saving fact of Jesus' resurrection. He is present to his suffering world. He is present with us in our Christian worship. It is in the living Lord that there is hope for all of us. His death was a gift of obedience, once for all. He became the bridge from an old humanity to the new humanity. It is the living Lord who offers all mankind reconciliation, love and compassion, now and in the future.
He is our life!
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