“Christ is Risen! He is risen indeed!”
Many casual observers assume that the doctrine of sin is at the center of the Christian faith. I guess that’s understandable; we talk about sin enough. But, truth be told, sinfulness, brokenness, disappoint, pain… Christianity hardly has a corner on the market for talking about such things, as you see their mark every time you hear the headlines or, for that matter, pay attention to the lives and relationships right around you. I’d suggest, in fact, that the subject of sin is more a doctrine of human experience than Christian faith and is hardly the center of our confession.
Rather, what’s at the heart of the Christian faith is forgiveness, the possibility that the things we do to hurt others, and those things done that hurt us, do not have the last word. Resurrection, in short, means that forgiveness, reconciliation, new life, and an open future are all not just possible, but are gifts already given us from the hand of a loving God.
When we proclaim that “Christ is Risen!” we are affirming that God’s act to raise Jesus from the dead testifies that love is stronger than hate, that light is more powerful than darkness, and that life has triumphed over death. We proclaim, that is, that the hardship and pain around us is not the ultimate reality, and that God’s gift of abundant life is available to all.
And so, with Christians through the centuries, let us say together that “Christ is Risen! He is risen indeed!” so that, at that brave confessions, the heavens and earth and all who are in them may rejoice.
President, The Lutheran Theological Seminary at Philadelphia