Sunday, April 20, 2014

“Christ the Lord is risen today!” — famous hymn

A good friend and pastor, Sara Bainbridge, was teaching a confirmation class at a small church in northwest Arkansas and asked her confirmands what they thought the first words of Jesus were as He came out of the tomb on Easter morning.  One little girl quickly raised her hand and when called upon, said, “Ta Da!”  Oh how she captured that emotion so quickly and so accurately.  Sara used this as the basis for one of the best sermons I have ever heard on this event which is so definitive for all Christianity.  Without the “Ta Da!” of Christ on Easter morning, there would be no hope in being a Christian.  This event has been written of in hymns and poetry like John Donne’s “Death Be Not Proud” and in the hymn quoted above, but none have truly captured the joy and triumph of the resurrection like that little girl’s understanding.  If there had been no resurrection, Christ would have been a liar and a fraud as He had promised those close to Him and to all who would listen that He would triumph over death and offer life eternal to all those who would follow Him.  It was the crowning touch and reversal of the grief of the crucifixion for those who were with Him at the time.  It is the gift to each of us who follow Him that we know, even those of us who were yet unborn at the time, that His love was unconditional, all inclusive, and offered freely to all who would receive it.  No resurrection—no Christianity.  It’s just that simple, and like the little girl understood it—just that joyous.  Oh my Lord, what a morning!  We can all be assured as the words of the old African-American sermon tell us, that no matter how dark a Friday may be—that Sunday is coming.  This is the Sunday that we were promised.  It is the “Ta Da!” Sunday that brings us all tears of joy.  AMEN.
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