...how would you know it?
This is a question I've been pondering since all of Christendom just celebrated the high holy day of Easter. As you look at the Church, do you find evidence of life? Is the radiant life of a risen Christ emanating from within?
It is often hard to answer that question in the affirmative. And when you look back at the history of Christianity with all the atrocities committed in Christ's name, it is rather difficult to find evidence that the Church believes at all in the resurrection of Jesus.
Growing up Catholic, I was surrounded by gory images of a beaten, thorn-crowned, crucified and speared-through Messiah. Those images of death and torture seem to signify the morbid mindset of many of today's Christians. Their pre-occupation with death and judgment leads them away from the life-affirming and life-changing message of Easter.
If that wasn't true, wouldn't we see more evidence of Christ-likeness in the Church?
The question of "Who Killed Jesus?," rekindled in large part by Mel Gibson's film a few years ago, matters little in my opinion. Whether you fall into the John Crossan camp, believing “that the Romans, not the Jews, killed Jesus as a revolutionary agitator inimical to their continued governance of Judea”, you side with the Anti-Semites who solely blame the Jews (you'd be in a growing minority btw), or you believe both are culpable, the pressing issue is whether you fixate on Christ's death or His resurrection.
For me, the resurrection is just as much about my attitude every day, as it is about a promise of life after death. And if, like me, you believe in the abundant life proclaimed in Scripture, then it should effect the state of daily affairs in your life. It should be evident in the way you approach challenges, the way you interact with others, the way in which you conduct yourself and the way you spend your time, energy and resources.
A religion fixated on death will produce more of the same, but a living faith rooted in the life of Christ will produce abundantly more. So, as I reflect on the Easter story, I am once again encouraged to live out my faith actively. And for me that means doing more, spending my time, energy and resources more wisely, loving more and having a more positive attitude.
If Jesus is really alive, then how is it effecting your life here on planet Earth?