We all sang, “Alleluia! Christ arose!” It is so hard for Christians to explain Easter to other people. To people who do not know Christ, the whole idea of someone rising from the dead is ludicrous. No one with a grain of common sense is going to believe that! As a pastor it has occurred to me over the years that many of the faithful members of my congregations don’t really believe it: they just like being with the nice people in church. They are hedging their bets. It is as if they think, “Just in case those Christians know what they’re talking about, I am going to go to church so I can go to heaven when I die. If the Christians are wrong and there is no life after death as I suspect, then nothing is going to change that. But if the Christians are right, then I’ll be glad I went to all this trouble.” I usually don’t find out that is how they really think until I am sitting by them on their death beds. Then they ask me, do I really believe it? How do I know for sure?
We call the spiritual impartation of the knowledge that there is an afterlife the “assurance of eternal life.” One cannot get it by wishing for it. One cannot get it by attending church and reading the Bible (though that often paves the way.) One can only get it in God’s good time when one has surrendered to the will of God. When deep inside oneself the longing for a good, just and loving universe is so strong that one is willing to hope there is a good God and willing to engage in the struggle to improve the lives of others, then God recognizes a heart as being a place where He can dwell and He chooses to make a home there. This is difficult to explain, but it is very real. God is. God is good. Jesus is God’s Son. Jesus conquered sin and death for us all. This is THE truth.
The Lexington Ministerial Alliance is coordinating these Minister’s Messages. Any pastor in the Alliance may submit an article. Please email your article to Rev. Linda O’Neal, the Alliance secretary at firstname.lastname@example.org