I’ve heard at least 23 sermons or homilies on Easter week and resurrection. Everyone loves writing about the cross and the empty tomb when Holy Week rolls around. Heck, I re-started my blog on Holy Week, way back when (see A Good Friday Welcome). It’s the pinnacle of our faith, it’s the truth that changes our lives – shout it from the rooftops.
But, the more we hear something, the more it becomes passé. Old news. “Resurrection,” as a word, begins to carry less weight and more demands of ministry. It rolls around every year, so what’s the big deal?
This year, I haven’t really been feeling the whole Easter thing. Not because I’m in a sore spot with the Lord and not because I don’t care. But when you’ve heard the same vocabulary for decades, it’s impact seems to weaken. What is the resurrection supposed to speak into when I’m in a weird season of mutual busyness and boredom, with lots of impending transitions, and am struggling to sift through some of my deeper emotions?
The resurrection of Jesus reminds me what I have and have not been promised.
It puts hope in its proper place.
It brings me back to being known.
We hope for a lot of things that haven’t actually been promised to us. Often, we don’t even realize that our faith in Christ and our willingness to believe Him for a good thing has slipped into idolatry of the thing itself.
Hoping doesn’t stop after you’ve received the thing you hoped for. There’s always the next dream. Hoping is very human.
We believe for things in faith, knowing they aren’t promised. We hope beyond reason, knowing that He can but may not. This is true of all humanity, not just singles. My singleness just often happens to inform my hopes and dreams; it speaks to those things that I have not been promised:
- I haven’t been promised a husband. If I do get married one day, I haven’t been promised that that marriage will be long or easy.
- I haven’t been promised children – biological or otherwise.
- I haven’t been promised full healing from PCOS.
- I haven’t been promised fruitful, lifegiving ministry in Germany. I haven’t been promised longevity or ease of life and ministry in Europe.
- I haven’t been promised safety or security.
- I haven’t been promised painlessness.
- I haven’t been promised conventionality, notoriety, or comfort (I actually think Scripture gives a good picture of life with Jesus literally being the opposite of that).
The Lord has not promised that I will see any of my dreams come to fruition this side of Heaven – even the good ones.
The empty tomb reminds me where my hope lies and where it doesn’t.
This is good, active, relevant news for all of us because it speaks into every. single. place. of bad news. And sometimes our waiting, hoping, and carrying the weight of unmet expectations can feel like bad news.
We carry these things in our very bodies. Our very physical, present bodies remind us that our hope cannot be in the temporal. Our bodies are a living, breathing reminders that we carry brokenness and death. The resurrection reminds us – reminds me – that our incarnate God died and defeated the very physical, corporeal, palpable reality of death.
“God honored the Master’s body by raising it from the grave. He’ll treat yours with the same resurrection power.” 1 Corinthians 6:14, MSG
There are a lot of things we aren’t promised. There are a lot of hopes that go unanswered, injustices that seem to prevail, and waiting that drones on.
But there are things that we are promised. That He’ll never leave us. That He loves us. That He’s for us. That’s He is good.
We are promised resurrection power.
Read it again. The context of 1 Corinthians 6 is sexuality, immorality, and our bodies (not your typical Easter Sunday passage, I know). We are promised resurrection power in our very bodies.
In our very bodies.
That means that every. single. one. of those dreams and hopes will see new life. It means my body, my desires – they’re all going to see new life. Every place that feels hard, cracked, dry, and dead will be redeemed and raised up. Whether in this world or the next.
Sure, I can learn five things when I have a crush. But the reality is that my singleness teaches me so much more about who I am and the intimacy that I’m invited into with Christ. My singleness, the very reality that I carry in my physical being, is a reminder of the resurrection because it’s a reminder of the Imago Dei. It’s a reminder of Christ’s body – the bloody, bruised, asphyxiated body that did not stay dead. It’s a physical, tangible, incarnate reminder of the resurrection and our participation in it, because of and through His covenant love for us.
And that’s not just true of singleness.
This is not a passé Gospel. This is not “I’m not really feeling Easter.” That is the best freaking news for a very dry, cracked, and dead world. For a place with a lot of dashed hopes, unfair systems, and broken, unfulfilled bodies.
Our hope lies in the in the resurrection power of our covenant-keeping, incarnate, resurrected Jesus.
We are known by this Man who carries resurrection power and, by his own death and resurrection, invites us into that. This isn’t “known” as in casual acquaintance that I sometimes avoid at the supermarket. This is known as in the Hebrew word “yada.” Known intimately. Passionately. Belovedly.
We’re most familiar with this Hebrew word when it describes man X knowing his wife to conceive child Y (a la Genesis 4). This marital oneness, this “knowing” – it’s also used in places like Psalm 139:1 and Exodus 33:12-13. To describe how God knows us and how we can know Him.
God knows us. That’s not just redemption for our bodies in an earthly marriage; that’s a relationship with our Creator, Savior, and Lover right now. That’s resurrection power in our single, married, divorced, widowed, abused, misused, unhealed, disease-ridden bodies. That doesn’t mean it won’t feel unconventional, uncomfortable, or like all our temporal hopes are dying in the process. We don’t get resurrection without the cross, single or not. But Scripture tells us. Easter tells us. We are promised resurrection power.
The more I learn about this God who is jealous to know His people, who roars like a passionate lion and comforts like a tender shepherd, the more I think that forced “quiet times” aren’t exactly what He had in mind (see Hosea 11 and John 10:15-17). He has so much more for us. But it’s not “more,” in terms of the things we wish were promised to us.
It’s more of Himself.
It’s more understanding of His deep, covenant love.
It’s more knowing Him and being known by Him.
It’s more resurrection power for our bodies, including in our singleness.
That is the best news of the resurrection.
That is Easter.
Shoutout to Sex and the Single Girl by Dr. Julie Slattery for prompting these recent conversation with Jesus!