We live in an age of increasing doubt and skepticism. Our fellow Americans boast about how much they distrust the United States government. Our brothers and sisters in Christ brag about not believing many of the teachings of the church. Have you discussed the virgin birth lately? Our Catholic friends struggle with faith in their long trusted institution because of priestly scandals. We doubt science and put religion at a distance. There is no authority for the right belief.
We also live in an age of increasing unexamined belief in the absurd. Conspiracy theories comfort our political views. We don’t care if they aren’t proven. They just have to make sense to our minds. “Well, that sounds right.” We accept pseudo-science over long evidence based research using the scientific method. As one author put it "aliens are real, ghosts exist, and the earth was made in six days, but climate change and GMOs and vaccines are made up by the government deep state to control the masses." The age of complete relativism is upon us.
With all of this I find myself at a crossroad about how to articulate my hope in Christ and the doctrines of the church. 1 Peter 3:15 says, “but in your hearts sanctify Christ as Lord. Always be ready to make your defense to anyone who demands from you an accounting for the hope that is in you.” Hebrews 11:11 says, "Faith is the confidence that what we hope for will actually happen; it gives us assurance about things we cannot see.”
At my last church I did 20 funerals. In each we talked about the “Witness to the Resurrection of Jesus Christ.” We did not talk about what to believe about Easter. We did not talk about how chocolate and bunnies got involved. We talked about hope.
I remember holding the hand of one friend who was dying. She had said in Bible study that she had doubts about the resurrection and heaven, etc. Later she was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. We talked in her hospital room. She shared how she was moved to tears with hope and comfort about who Jesus was. In a way, her doubt still lingered. She knew it was absurd. But to her the hope was beautiful and
a comfort. In her reality of living and dying the hope of the resurrection was real. Nothing else mattered about skepticism or belief for that matter. What mattered was comfort and peace.
That is what the resurrection means to me. It is a gift from Jesus and our tradition of faith. It gives hope. Romans 8:24 says, "For in this hope we were saved; but hope that is seen is no hope at all. Who hopes for what he can already see?” And from 2 Corinthians 4:18, "So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal."
May you have hope in Christ. Happy Easter!
Rev. Trey Hegar