Word of the Week

Resurrection Is the Most Wonderful Time of Year

It seems this year that the sermon series from Acts about the unfolding of resurrection has challenged me to re-think the whole concept of resurrection.

Like most Christians who grew up in church, the term "resurrection" is something that I've heard about my entire life.

"We are a people of the resurrection" and "Without the resurrection where would we be?" are phrases that pastors always seem to throw out. And usually it seems that such statements are in the context of a telling of the Jesus story seeking to prove our religious expression (as Christians) is better than another faith tradition. (Not my style)

But, in chewing on the Acts texts as examples of what resurrection embodied might mean in the life of the church, I've come to be quite fond of resurrection in a larger context. I'm finding ways to apply the concept to the movements of life change and transition which all of us face. And, I've thinking about how we all need more seasons of resurrection in our own lives and in our faith communities.

It seems this year that resurrection is a great way to describe both my journey as a pastor and our congregation.

For example, this past Sunday, I preached on the lectionary reading about Dorcas following the idea of "When Death Comes Again." What stood out to me the most through this scripture study was necessity of our embracing death, staying with death, grieving death so that we are in a place emotionally, spiritually, etc to have the possibility of seeing resurrection when it actually occurs.

Such "staying with death" I'm realizing is more than about just "Good Friday" or attentiveness to funeral services when the come to our communities. Rather, staying with death includes an awareness as a pastor that folks in my congregation are going through times of loss, pain and disappointment that seem unending throughout the year. And, while our natural human instincts might be to move on or seek to make people better sooner, truly, resurrection can only come if we are committed to staying with the journey of pain for however long it takes.

As I say this, I'm mindful of the commitment of heart that it takes to do this. It's hard to see dying programs, dying ideas, dying dreams through. It's hard to stick with a church or a person through a time of loss and grief. It's hard to wonder in the wilderness not knowing when things will get any better.

But, I'm encouraged afresh this week that if we stay connected to God and to each other through the moments of death, the good news is resurrection is always around the corner. Our story won't be about death and pain and loss forever. The challenge is to actually believe that resurrection of dreams, of hopes, of faith communities can happen, even out of the worst senerios.

Even with the challenges, I'll continue proclaiming the next three weeks before Pentecost begins that Resurrection season is the most wonderful time of the year!