Christ is risen! Christ is risen indeed!
Apr 14, 2020
A church member made the above sketch while listening to my sermon via Zoom last Sunday. I was thrilled to see this evidence of participation in the preaching moment—something that is always difficult to judge and especially so now, gazing into the little camera dot atop my laptop. Then I looked more closely at his drawing, and all I saw were Christian clichés. Was this all I had to offer?
Actually, I had preached that Matthew’s version of the resurrection story is anything but Christian cliché. Matthew does not present the miracle of Jesus’s resurrection as a Hallmark card of butterflies and lilies, but rather as something that still bore the stench of death and the fear of the unknown. Nothing could be more real than that, which is precisely why we can believe it is true.
Like the women at the tomb, we are called to proclaim Good News in spite of our fear—to take sacrifice and suffering seriously but to not let it stop us from encountering the great joy of greetings from our Risen Lord. Who am I to say that my church member has not had just such an authentic encounter, after which the promise of joy, hope, peace, new life, and celebration has the most vivid resonance? May we all be so blessed.
Rev. Jennifer Ackerman
Director, Ogilvie Institute of Preaching
Brehm Center | Fuller Theological Seminary