Archives: Who's Risen from the Dead, Anyway?

Archives: Who's Risen from the Dead, Anyway?

Learning the Meaning of Ministry - Introduction

Who's Risen from the Dead, Anyway?  links:
Who's Risen Index  |   Next Guide  |   Previous Guide
Introduction  | Reflections  | Activities


Throughout the history of the Christian church, celebration of Christ's resurrection has been the most important festival. In the early days of the church, it was celebrated on the first day of each week. During the Second Century, an annual Feast of Easter was established, although not all Christians observed it on the same day of the year.          

Most often we approach Easter as a time of hope and joy, and ultimately it is that. But we tend to forget that historically the resurrection was a bewildering event. The disciples were terrified at first by the apparition of the nail-scarred Christ.

What could this unnatural occurrence mean? Jesus did not say "My resurrection is proof that there is life after death," or "I am here to give you hope for the future." What he did say was "As God has sent me, so I send you."

No wonder the disciples were terrified! Following in Christ's footsteps would mean continued conflicts with the authorities, giving up a comfortable, inconspicuous life, and perhaps even martyrdom.

But the resurrection stood as a sign that Christ's ministry was not in vain, that his work was stronger than the principalities and powers that put him to death.

By carrying on Christ's ministry, the disciples would play a critical role in making Christ's teaching a reality on earth. And here lies the joy, the promise of eternal life, and the hope for the world that we celebrate at Easter.

What does it mean to participate in Christ's ministry? The Lenten Gospel texts seem chosen to help us answer this question. By reflecting on the scriptures and doing some of the activities based on these passages, we can make Lent a time of genuine preparation to celebrate Easter.

Lent is also a time of cultural resistance. Originally a period of initiation into the Christian faith, Lenten observances were required for all Christians by the Fourth Century, when Christianity became the state religion of Rome. This was to make certain that the throngs of new converts, many of whom had little understanding of Christ's teachings, did not subvert the character of Christianity to suit the status quo of Rome.

As in fourth century Rome, Christianity has become the "official" religion of the Western world. It is easy to succumb to a "safe" version of Christianity which does not clash with mainstream culture or the powers that be.

The Gospel texts for Lent suggest that preparation to participate in Christ's ministry calls for self-discipline, self-examination, a willingness to be open to new directions in our lives, faith, and the courage to confront powers and principalities.

The household activities, based on the Gospel passages, should help each individual determine where and how to accomplish these things in his or her own life.

Special celebrations of the Passover and Easter Seders will inspire us to carry on this work, which began many, many years ago.

Page Updated 3 Jan. 2014

Simple Living Works! * SimpleLivingWorks@Yahoo.com
BLOG: SimpleLivingWorks.WordPress.com | Blog INDEX
VIDEOS: YouTube.com/SimpleLivingWorks
MISSION: Equipping people of faith to challenge consumerism, live justly and celebrate responsibly // An all volunteer educational organization.