Written by Rev. George Vink
Classis Grand Rapids South Regional Pastor
The changing statistics scream the facts. We live in a world in which death is not an abstraction, but a tearful reality. We’re laying loved ones to rest, whether due to a virus, cancer or a deranged man’s bullets.
In this reality, we need hope.
Tradition teaches that the young Buddha was shielded from illness and wrongs as well as kept isolated from death or destruction. He was to experience only what was good and beautiful, nothing bad or ugly. Imagine it, if you could. The fact is, death is ugly. We may work hard to hide its reality with flowers and pious phrases, trying to numb its pain. Too often, we deal with death as if we have no perspective, no message of “He Is Risen!”
Easter Sunday, Paul-like, faithful pastors proclaimed in a variety of ways, “Now brothers and sisters, I want to remind you…He is Risen!” (I Cor. 15:1). Worshipers at home responded, again and again, saying, “He is Risen, Indeed!” God’s Word declared a needed comfort last Sunday. So, when asked in the midst of life’s realities, “Where does your help come from?” we answer, not just reciting a memory verse, but how we live and how we deal with death’s reality.
Christ’s resurrection has everything to say about how we live and how we deal with death.
Easter applies all year.
It’s true at the beach and in a snowstorm. “Hallelujah-Christ Arose!” It’s true when cancer destroys our bodies and when bullets stops a heart. Our confession remains personal, “My comfort, my sense of strength, my hope, in life and in death, is that I am not my own but belong, body and soul, to my faithful Savior Jesus Christ.”
As believers sharing one faith, we cry, we mourn as Jesus did, but we also believe our lives have meaning because of Christ’s resurrection. That message came from different pulpits, using different means, but it was unmistakable. We heard Christ’s promise in John 14:19, “…because I live, you will live also.”
We deal with death, no choice, but we do so in the light of Easter and its truth—He is Risen!
The day will come when we’ll declare: “Where, O death, is your victory? Where, O death, is your sting?” Waiting for that day, as many faces of one faith, we live confidently and obediently.
He is Risen!