He Rose! Growing up, no matter how many different versions, different players, different costumes were displayed of the Resurrection, the ending remained the same. After three days, “He” rose, with all power in his hands! Hallelujah, thank God for Jesus! As we paused yesterday to celebrate the legacy of Dr. Maya Angelou, we are reminded of the rising narrative she was famously known for. The ending of “Still I Rise” was similar as well, in that through its unfolding of tribulation, triumph is beautifully attained.
The Resurrection of Christ and the words of Dr. Maya demonstrate the accusation and persecution of others. We are reminded in 2 Timothy 2:12 that “if we endure, we will also reign with him.” Enduring. is. not. easy. After all, there are days when I feel as though Christ’s death on the cross just one time for all of humanity, all that we’ve done, all that we’re doing and all that we will do, provides license to act out my initial response when I am “written down in history with bitter, twisted lies.” Yet in God’s infinite wisdom, we were provided grace. Grace that strengthens us to endure as good soldiers, grace that lifts up our heavy hearts, grace that reminds us of the high cost of salvation, and that the fight was already won at Calvary, despite occasional small aftershocks.
Jesus (and Dr. Maya) provided the prototype for responding to the antics of others. Rise. Easy? Not necessarily, however, what is the point of going beneath the privilege extended to you as a result of the cross? Over the course of the week on Duke University’s campus where I work, I witnessed thousands of students rise above a horrible reminder of hate against Black people. Their hurt and pain was justified, but their response was remarkable. Hate did not win – and it never will.
Churches will undoubtedly be packed this morning. I ain’t mad at no one about that. Sunday best ensembles, big hats and curled hair will be in abundance. Songs echoing the Resurrection will be sung through the rafters, and prayerfully (at least for the parents), Easter speeches will be delivered with the same enthusiasm as in the kitchen or the car on the way to church. Yes, Sunday has come. There will be millions of sermons affirming the Resurrection and the fact that it is the most important recollection in the life of a Christian. However, if the Lord does not come tonight, and we are afforded a glimpse of Monday, we must be prepared to continue to hold up the blood stained banner of Jesus.
Everyone doesn’t know him, everyone doesn’t care to know him, but if you do proclaim to be a follower of Christ, let us agree to rise. Let us rise above hurt and disappointment, knowing our reward is greater (Matthew 5:12). Let us not conform to be any other than Christ created, after all, we are created in his image (Genesis 1:27). Let us not succumb to evil or the workers of iniquity, because soon they will be cut like the grass (Psalm 27:1-2). Let us remember that the promises of God are yes and amen (2 Corinthians 1:20).
Resurrection is not relegated to the be celebrated on whenever the calendar deems. In the life of a believer, it is appropriate to honor it daily, hourly and sometimes even by the moments. Its not necessary for us to call forth the accoutrements of “Resurrection Sunday” to get breakthrough. Nothing magical happened at Calvary to shield us from pain; but something miraculous happened at Calvary to cover us through the “shooting of words, cutting of eyes, killing with hatefulness.” And just as Dr. Maya suggests, the enemy desires to see us broken – but that is not the desire of God. Make a mental note of the rising. Choose to rise when the enemy presents himself through a person, place or thing. And as you rise, accompany a bit of praise to the most high God. Happy Birthday Dr. Maya! Happy Resurrection!