Alleluia

Alleluia! Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!

I love that refrain that we shout at Easter, ‘He is risen’. It is not, ‘He was risen’ or, ‘He has risen’. No! It is, ‘He is risen!’. We use the present tense because Jesus still is and this is vitally important! When we think of other people in the Bible who were brought back from the dead, Lazarus, for example, we say, “Lazaraus was raised,” because Lazarus died again. But Jesus is alive!

The resurrection of Jesus changes everything. Think about it. If there was no resurrection it means that, through Jesus being pinned to a cross, evil had won. When God came to his people as a human, all evil conspired to defeat him. In a way, I suppose, evil wins the battle with every human, for the consequences of evil – of sin – is death. Therefore, when Jesus was raised, all humanity can (proverbially) stick two fingers up at death and say, “You no longer have the final word!”

Resurrection gives us hope and there is no truer and better placed hope than the hope we have in Jesus. Our hope is built on a firm foundation. We Christians do not have a wishy-washy faith, nor is it a faith based on our humanity – how good or bad we have been – where our fate is weighed upon some ‘cosmic’ scales. No! Our fate is tied up with our faith in Christ. As Christ is our leader and we follow him, we will literally follow him beyond the grave. There is no other world leader, guru, prophet, priest, or king that can rescue us. Why? Because, guess what, they are all still in the ground! Our saviour is risen!

But how can be we sure of our faith? How can we know that we will one day be resurrected like Jesus? Because we can meet the risen Jesus in the here and now. The physical presence of Jesus is in the heavenly world. Remember – heaven is not just a ‘spiritual’ place. There are physical, created beings there too! But here, on earth, the Spirit of Jesus is poured into the heart of every believer. We can meet Jesus now, through his Holy Spirit. If Jesus had not been resurrected then he would not have been able to send the Spirit!

Us Christians are a bit weird are we not? Because we are known to have joy and celebrate in the midst of the suffering and pain of life. Through the power of the Spirit, we rejoice in the hope we have in Jesus. We sing psalms and songs of praise even when, to outsiders, it would seem impossible to do so. The Spirit gives us the power to forgive those for things others would deem unforgivable. The Spirit gives us a love for those that others would deem unlovable. The Spirit gives us peace when the noise of the world is unbearable.

This week has been an extraordinarily tough week for some of you. Some of you are in hospital or going abroad for urgent treatment. Some of you are house-bound, unable to even walk up the steps outside your homes. Some of you are suffering with mental health issues, addiction, or dementia. Some of you are grieving deeply at the loss of loved ones – spouses, parents, or grandparents. Some of you are struggling with being estranged from family, through relationship breakdown or enforced distancing. Some of you struggle to put food on the table and feel so low and a lack of self worth.

This is our family. Beautiful and broken. But… we are not a Good Friday people. We are an Easter people. And together, as we hold each other, hug each other, and stand with each other, we say,

Alleluia! Christ is risen! He is risen indeed! Alleluia!