Monday, May 19, 2014

Too Hard to Believe

Adam Hamilton wrote in his book 24 Hours that Changed the World, that Easter is both the most powerful and most challenging Sunday on which to preach each year.  I thought that was an interesting statement.  He says it is "challenging precisely because the events we celebrate are difficult to believe."  Think about that for a moment.

For those of us who grew up in the faith, it is easier to accept that Christ was raised from the dead.  It's an amazing thought, but we grew up believing it. Dare I say we take it for granted?  If not that, then at least we don't have to convince ourselves of it - we already believe.  The mission of Adam Hamilton's church is to reach the unchurched.  Imagine for a moment that you never believed any of of it.  I think it would be a challenge to convince you of the truth.

Hamilton goes on to say that scholars sometimes try to explain it away.  They use explanations such as: he wasn't really dead, or the tomb wasn't really empty.

I don't think we routinely do that, but I do wonder if we do something that is related.  Are we so entrenched in the faith that we forget what it means? When the disciples saw that Christ has risen, and when they encountered him after the resurrection, their lives were changed.  Before, even though they knew what was going to happen, I don't think they really believed it.  Even though Christ was with them, alive, before his death, it was after his death that their faith was solidified.  Before, they had deserted Christ; now they stood up for their faith, most of them to the point of their own deaths.

Do we allow the resurrection to transform us?  Is it easier for us to recite the Apostles' Creed than it is to live a life as if we believe what we say we believe?

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