Rebellion’s Hopelessness, Resurrection’s Presence

If for this life only we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.        1 Corinthians 15:19

In the movie, Love and Death, the main character Boris Grushenko (Woody Allen) asked, “What if there is no God?  What if we’re just a bunch of absurd people who are running around with no rhyme or reason?”  Sonya (Diane Keaton) replied, “But if there is no God, then life has no meaning.  Why go on living?  Why not just commit suicide?
Boris quickly answered, “Well, let’s not get hysterical.  I could be wrong.  I’d hate to blow my brains out and then read in the papers they found something.”  Finally, at the end of the movie, in a voice-over Boris says, “If it turns out that there is a God, I don’t think He is evil.  I think that the worst thing you can say about Him is that He is an underachiever.”

“If for this life only we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.”  I watched with my daughter the movie, “The Fault in Our Stars” some time ago.  Of course she was all thrilled with the idea of being so loved by one person and that is all that matters because, I guess, it is such a romantic idea.  However what I found so very, very sad was how the theme of the movie revolved around the evolutionary view of the universe.  I found it incredibly hopeless.  The only value in my life is that I hopefully find someone who loves me.  But also in the background was that eventually all who love me will die, my memory will become dust – indeed all of the world will become dust.

Displayed before us is the empty hope for humanity where evolution will pass us by on its drive to nothingness.  After all, the universe is simply a meaningless cycle of effort that has no reason, no point to it.  Whether I get up tomorrow or not has no effect on anything which lasts.  Whether I am happy or not, in only a few generations there will be nobody who would even care.  Everything will all finally die out in cold, hard space.  Mankind is merely an animal, and therefore should have no higher expectations of itself than that of “the human animal”: to live, to breed, to die and to become food for something else.

“If for this life only we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.”  Then there are the very large number who count Jesus as a some great religious teacher, a moral philosopher with the kind of high ideals which should make life easier for everybody (if only these principles were followed by everyone, that is).  But what happens when you fail, when you don’t measure up to the standards of required perfection?  “That we must try harder” is an answer hollow of any hope, therefore no empowerment and no strength for the weaknesses we have inside.

What happens when you so desperately wish to be different, better – and yet you are not?  What happens when your resolve to be a better person runs out about as fast as your plan to diet or to exercise?  What happens when you discover that you have failed in regard to something which is very important to you?  Then again, what happens if you do achieve your high ideals?  On Good Friday, Jesus proved that you can get crucified by the world for it!

“If for this life only we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.”  Moses spent his whole life being God’s person.  He was specially called by God, he had a privilege with God that others just didn’t have – “he spoke with God face-to-face as with a friend!”  He argued with God and WON!  He remained steadfast and faithful in spite of the rebellions and faithlessness of the people he led.  Yet one sin, one minor sin compared to the gross sins of Israel; one sin kept him out of his dream, kept him out of the promised land, the one goal that he had wanted all his life.

That is the reality of God’s justice, a reality which is understandable, since our own law courts operate the same way – for example, no matter how safe a driver I am, if I am caught speeding, even if I wasn’t aware of it, I still am guilty.  Yet where does that leave us?  Before God, even if we could argue our way out of some guilty sentences, there are still plenty more sins which would nail us to the wall – or to a cross.  We would have no hope.

“If for this life only we have hope in Christ, we are to be pitied more than all men.”  “He who has the most toys, wins!”  But nobody ever seems to answer “Wins what?”  Another common saying over the years has been, “Life is a [then there’s a word that sounds close to “itch”], and then you die.”  Recently a government report emphasized that the death rate among First Nation youths by suicide and addiction is far greater than the national average.  What a sense of hopelessness pervades all these items!

Was Boris right?  Is God an underachiever?  What does He have when the crunch hits, what does He give that can make someone strong enough to weather the storms, the emptinesses, and the meaninglessnesses which we encounter so frequently in our lives?  What is there that God has to offer to you and me?

This forms the pivot of St Paul’s argument: If you take away the Resurrection, then everybody else is right about life and its purposelessness.  Even God Himself becomes a really very minor character in the universe.  Sure, He might require accountability and deliver consequences in your life and may even give you a few blessings, but ultimately even those things are meaningless.

They look for alternatives to chemotherapy that can help in causing erection in the natural manner. purchase cialis online Well, erectile dysfunction is generally termed as impotence; this is a common problem among men with erectile dysfunction (ED), testosterone deficiency (TD) or premature ejaculation (PE). It basically comprise of the man’s inability to find harder erection that can stay longer and for all those men population who wish to get rid of their unwanted case of mind sickness, dullness, tadalafil pharmacy depression, psychological issues, etc. Research on such equipment will show up a lot of men struggle with erectile dysfunction, but with the introduction of so many erectile dysfunction (ED) medicines in the last decade, many men suffering from this sexual problem have got a new lease of life. That is, until you add the Resurrection.  Suddenly there is a whole different sense to existence.  Suddenly then there is depth and power to what I do and say, how I act and react.  No longer am I a random step to a useless destiny of mankind, but now I am involved in eternity, and everything I do has eternal significance.

As Paul points out, now because of the Resurrection, I have forgiveness of sins, I have eternal life.  I have an answer to even my failures, because there is going to be a time when there will be no more failures.  In fact, because of the Resurrection, I am guaranteed that even my failures and my sins have usefulness – look at the Cross!  Mankind’s greatest sin, yet at the very same time God’s greatest triumph!  There mankind was doing its worst, and yet God was doing His most wonderful – He was creating forgiveness, life and salvation, for all who repent, even for His murderers!

The Resurrection was God’s megaphone to proclaim that it was all done, all had gone according to plan and that there was no turning back.  Look at how God proved His power, when the ultimate weakness of any being (which is death) could not even slow Jesus down; look at the power, look at the hope, look at the meaning which He gives to us!  No, this is no under-achiever!  This is no god who got himself lost in a closet!

Rather, here is a God Who has reached down and powerfully taken us out of meaninglessness – now we discover that there is plan, a goal, a target, a purpose to the whole world and to all of history – and WE ARE PART OF IT!!  Here is a God Who proved Himself with a tangible, solid physical body risen from the dead, a body that still bore the marks of real suffering, of crucifixion, of death for our sakes – look at the importance that has been placed upon us!!   Stagger at the thought that GOD would do this – would DIE for YOU!!

This is a God Who has become personally involved in OUR lives, eager to have us stand in His presence and eager to stand in our presence forever – that’s the reality of Jesus’ life, death, but most of all His Resurrection.  What a value in all the universe which WE did not choose for ourselves but has been placed upon us by Jesus.  In fact, the Resurrection is His guarantee that He will be coming back for us as He promised, because if He didn’t, then the Resurrection would be pointless anyway.

“If for this life only we have hope in Christ… – “HOPE”  What an empty word that normally is!  It speaks of vague wistfulness which often is more agony than comfort.  “I hope that it won’t rain (or snow!)” – but the chances are that it might (in fact, is).  “I hope that this will all turn out” – but the chances are that it probably won’t.  “I hope that things will get better” and yet that often is a hollow comfort.  But this is not the hope of the Resurrection!   No, we have a hope that extends to the farthest reaches of eternity, we have something to combat the meaninglessnesses, the nothingnesses, the uselessnesses, the emptinesses, the valuelessness of the world around us.

Despite all the instruments of despair which surround us in this world, we do have something that humanity is thirsting for, something which people all around us desperately need to find out about – something which gives each day meaning, which makes each action worthwhile, each word useful.  And we have that because we are a Resurrection People, we are a People Who are firmly grounded on the fact of the Resurrection experience.

But that experience is not some remote event.  The Resurrection is not something that merely happened in the long ago past.  It is something as recent as today.  Jesus said He is the Resurrection and the Life – He Himself is!  He said He, the Resurrection, comes in the midst of any two or three gathered in His Name – as He did for the two disciples on the way to Emmaus that first Easter evening, He does this for us right now.  He comes right now in Bread and Wine, and in His Body, the Church – you and me; and like the disciples of long ago, we too have the ability to touch again in these elements the Jesus Who makes our lives meaningful and useful.

Over and over the world is saying that all it knows is hopelessness, but now WE are a people who leave this worship with a great deal of hope, a great deal of the assurance of God Himself because of the Resurrection of Jesus.  The point of Holy Communion today is to demonstrate the reality of that hope found in the Resurrection, the reality of the risen Jesus’ presence in our midst, the power of His personal involvement in each of our lives.

Here again is a concrete reality, just like the disciples had needed that first day of Easter, so that we also might have something solid and sure upon which base our hope – but also then to give away to a world so desperately needing such Good News.

So today, come to the altar, here again to experience afresh the reality of the Resurrected Jesus, and then to realize the powerful hope that leaves here with us, in us, so that as we go about our daily lives that we see how we have something the world is so earnestly crying out for: We can reveal to everyone a real Resurrection and how that literally changes everything; here now is meaning, purpose, usefulness – here now is LIFE, real Life for all.

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