March 31, 2008

The period after the celebration of Easter is called Eastertide, which culminates in the celebration of Ascension and Pentecost. It is Luke who sets this time period of forty days in his two part work, Luke-Acts. I am grateful for his insight that this interval was necessary for the disciples to begin to understand the magnitude of what had transpired in the resurrection and, particularly, how to interpret Scripture in this new light. Acts 2:31-32 gives a canonical context to further their understanding of the continuity of God’s work: “Foreseeing this, David spoke of the resurrection of the Messiah, saying, ‘He was not abandoned to Hades, nor did his flesh experience corruption.’ This Jesus God raised up, and of that all of us are witnesses.”

National Public Radio has a thoughtful series, “This I Believe.” In brief essays, persons declare what is most crucial to their own belief system. Following that format, I offer my statement of belief.

The first new thing since creation has occurred—Christ has risen. Death is not the last word; just as Christ has risen, conquering all the destructive powers in the world, so shall we also rise. We began that resurrection in our baptism, risen to walk in newness of life. Someday it will be completed as we join Christ and the great cloud of witnesses.

For those of us who have lost beloved family and friends in recent months, the promise of sharing in Christ’s resurrection grants comfort and hope. For those of us living with terminally ill spouses, we can entrust them to God’s care—the one who did not abandon the Son to death. Christ has risen. We shall live with him in eternity. This I believe.

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