We should maintain that if an interpretation of any word in any religion leads to disharmony and does not positively further the welfare of the many, then such an interpretation is to be regarded as wrong; that is, against the will of God, or as the working of Satan or Mara.

Buddhadasa Bikkhu, a Thai Buddhist Monk

Sunday, April 8, 2012

From Herb’s Desk

What follows is my pastoral letter to the good folks of First Presbyterian Church, Lowville, which I would also like to share with the readers of Rom Phra Khun. Blessings. Herb

Skeptics doubt that there ever was a bodily resurrection of Jesus, mostly because such things “just don’t happen.” Easter, for them, is a sham and a scam. In the church, we see things differently. We express confidence in Easter for several reasons. First, we have four eyewitness accounts all confirming “something happened” and that Jesus’ disciples saw him risen from the dead. The followers of Jesus insisted they had seen him. The skeptics remain, of course, skeptical. Maybe the disciples made up the whole thing or, maybe, they experience some kind of mass psychosis. OK, but then there’s a second point that makes us pause. After Jesus’ death, it is clear that the disciples were discouraged and hopeless. Yet, within weeks they were boldly proclaiming the risen Lord and convincing others that Jesus was risen. Something happened, that’s for sure. And, whatever it was, it was not simply a mass psychotic episode (itself highly unlikely) because residents of the small city of Jerusalem joined up. They, too, became convinced that Something Happened.

The third reason we are confident in the Resurrection is that Christians in every generation have felt its power in their own lives. It gives hope to those trapped in hopeless situations. It heals those in need of healing. Generations of Christians have felt the power of the Spirit in their own lives, giving them richer lives. Generations of Christians have given themselves in service to others, sharing the hope and healing of the Cross with the world. The power for good of the Christian movement for two thousand years is witness to the power of the Resurrection and confirmation that indeed Something Happened after Jesus of Nazareth was crucified, dead and buried.

The thing is that Something keeps on Happening. Easter thus is not just the celebration of a 2000 year-old miracle. It is an experience that we celebrate at First Presbyterian Church, Lowville, every Sunday morning of the year. Blessings in this Easter Season! Herb