Alleluia! He is Risen! I know, for all of you who are reading this on Good Friday, you might be thinking, not yet. And yes, in the liturgical sense, we reserve this for Easter. But, in a deeper sense, Christ is Risen now and always. This is at the foundation of what we believe and who we are as people of faith: we walk in the path of Jesus of Nazareth because in him we have life. But what is the source of this life?
Some may say that we have life because we believe that Jesus died and rose again. I would say that this is where we may start. Convincing our minds of a fact or reality is just the beginning. This is also the work of our hearts. The word in Greek that we translate as belief, is better translated: give our heart to. We give our hearts and our trust to Jesus. And because of this trust, we lean on Jesus’ words and example to live a life according to his way of love. This is the deeper source of eternal life. It is a life filled with hope and Spirit. It is a life that works to create, not destroy.
As unique individuals, this heart work may precede the factual assent of our brains. Heart informs the intellect, the intellect informs the heart. Sometimes that distance between our brains and our hearts feels like an immense chasm, impossible to cross. It is the work of the Holy Spirit that creates the pathway between the two. We all hear so many things about God and what we should believe. I get very discouraged by statements that begin with: if you were a real or true Christian, you would… When we are set on proving our validity as Christians, with anything other than loving God and loving neighbor, we miss the point. And we sound highly judgmental as well. It is the work of each of us to partner with the Holy Spirit so that what our brain deciphers, our hearts may interpret.
What else comes from the reality of the empty tomb? We hear these words in our liturgy at funerals: Even at the grave we make our song, Alleluia! Alleluia! Nothing can take away from us this truth: even though this body we occupy will die, life is changed, not ended. Currently we have this physical body. We will have an embodied soul in the life to come. This is the hope of our lives to come. But, the empty tomb is not just a reminder of a promise to come. It is an essential part of walk with God every day.
The tomb is empty for one reason: Love. God’s love for us is seen in the emptiness of death. It has no power over us. We are filled with the love of God from the beginnings our our life and every step of the way. It is in our laughter, our relationships, the joy we take at doing the things we are good at. God’s love surrounds us in our sadness and brokenness. It is there when we pray and when we don’t. All we do in this life can be a response to the completeness of God’s love. This is living life abundantly. Alleluia, Jesus is Risen Indeed.