We believe that Christ died and that Christ rises and that Christ will come again.
I don’t, not today. I believe that he died — except, no, I don’t; I know that he died, because I sat there and I watched it. I sat at the foot of the cross with hundreds of people, all people who had loved him and who had come back to be with him at the end. It happened. The man who travelled and worked and ate with us is dead and buried. Today, I do not believe priest or prophet or any power in heaven or on Earth who tells me that they know what will happen tomorrow.
I keep hearing the unholy screams that you sometimes hear at the news of a sudden death. It is a sound that rips through you like a knife, and once heard it is never forgotten.
Our grief is very very real.
And I wonder: if Christ does not rise, will we still gather here?
After all, he’s dead and yet here we all still are cleaning up his church and setting things to rights. That means something.
He was the speaker of justice and truth and love, the Son of God, teacher and friend and redeemer, who in the end loved all of us so much that he died for us. If tomorrow there is no resurrection, will any of that stop being true? I don’t think it will. I think we might be here anyway, a people whose faith in who this man was and what he did for the world is strong enough to surpass even death.
In our religion the whole symbol of the religion ended in crucifixion and condemnation, but that wasn’t the measure of the experience. That was just the way it ended.