The Mystery of Resurrection

April 1, 2019 by Beth A. Richardson

Holy Jesus, I hear God’s mighty "Yes!" in your Resurrection. You invite me to live also, and I want to say "Yes!" to you. Take me out of the tomb that imprisons me, lead me into the morning of new life, and walk with me wherever your love may lead. Amen.
—Peter Storey, Listening at Golgotha: Jesus’ Words from the Cross

We enter this month of April still traveling through the wilderness of Lent. Soon our journey with Jesus will take us, with him, to Jerusalem where he will enter with the shouts of “Hosanna” and be condemned with shouts of “Crucify him!”

We will follow the steps of Jesus through the days of Holy Week, and then we will celebrate the mystery of resurrection.

I’ve been reflecting on the mystery of resurrection through the story of the encounter between Jesus and Nicodemus (John 3). Jesus says, “no one can see the kingdom of God without being born of water and spirit.” When I put myself in Nicodemus’s position, I get a little worried about Jesus’ talk of being born from above. 

“Jesus,” I ask, “Apart from the logistics, what I want to know is—Does it hurt?”

Jesus answers me with a laugh, “Child, why do you worry about that? We don’t grow without some hurt, some messiness, some inconvenience from time to time. That doesn’t stop a woman from giving birth to a child, a caterpillar from weaving its cocoon, the seed from sprouting into a new plant, the chick from pecking through its shell into life outside of the safety it has known.

“From the time you were conceived, you have been dying and rising. Cells divided and shaped you into who you are. You made choices, and choices were made for you. You risked loving others and forming relationships. You heard the call to follow me, and you met the challenges that life has given you. You sat with the hurting and the dying, and you wept in your own pain. Someday your tender heart will stop beating, and you will enter the life beyond.

“Don’t be afraid, little one. You have already lived through more transformations than you can count. Just keep praying and watching and listening and doing the best you can. I am there with you, bringing you peace and courage.” 

“Oh, wow,” I reply. “I never thought of resurrection in that way. Growth, risks, discipleship, new life. Keep praying and doing the best I can ... you are with me. I’m grateful for your presence.”

I’m wondering what comes to your mind, to your heart, when you consider the mystery of Jesus’ resurrection? Where do you see death in the world, in your community, in your church, in your life? Where do you see the mystery of resurrection at work in these places?

May we journey together, following Jesus through the tragic events of Holy Week and into the joyous miracle of resurrection. May we face this journey with courage and grace, trusting that Christ is walking with us through it all.

Adapted from Alive Now, July/August 2014. Copyright © 2014 The Upper Room.

Beth A. Richardson serves as the director of prayer and Upper Room worship life.

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