Easter Celebrates the Impossible

When the Sabbath was past, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome bought spices, so that they might go and anoint him. And very early on the first day of the week, when the sun had risen, they went to the tomb. And they were saying to one another, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance of the tomb?” And looking up, they saw that the stone had been rolled back— it was very large. And entering the tomb, they saw a young man sitting on the right side, dressed in a white robe, and they were alarmed. And he said to them, “Do not be alarmed. You seek Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He has risen; he is not here. See the place where they laid him. But go, tell his disciples and Peter that he is going before you to Galilee. There you will see him, just as he told you.” And they went out and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had seized them, and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid. (Mark 16:1-8)

To be a Christian is to be a part of something impossible.

People struggle with Christianity as long as it contains vestiges of the impossible. An invisible God. A body of water split in two. A man raised from the dead. Things which our minds cannot comprehend.

That we are Christians is a glimpse into the impossible. Born children of wrath, we are welcomed as children of God. Inclined by nature to deify ourselves, we are moved to cast our crowns at the feet of Another. Those unable to imagine a god who can care for them find themselves comforted by his favor.

To be a Christian is to be a part of something impossible.

I might list the various persons who influenced over the years my Christian convictions – parents, pastors, friends – and sketch in great detail how their influence molded my ways of seeing God, but in the end they were channels he used to impossibly capture my heart. It was he who enabled me to delight in what my stubborn heart would otherwise have refused to see.

I think of others in my congregation, who sit with us on a Sunday morning, and I ponder why they are there. There is no plan or scheme that could have drawn them there. Only God. We are all a part of something impossible.

The Christian church by worshiping on Sunday is reminded that is a part of something impossible. It was on a Sunday, the first day of the week, that a group of women gathered at a tomb and found it empty. And at Easter we gather with them to once again peer into that empty tomb and declare, “He is not here. He is risen!” Impossible though it was and always will be.

Easter is that grand reminder that what is not possible for humanity is possible for God. To be a Christian is to be a part of something wonderfully impossible. And the God who did the impossible continues to surprise us with the impossible.

I cannot tell you where the next member of my church or yours will come from. But I can tell you that he or she will surprise us. There will be something impossible in their story, and the path that led them to us. And so we build relationships and probe our networks and live the gospel among those around us knowing that if any respond, it will be a surprise. It’s impossible. But we are a part of something impossible made possible.

This Easter, you may be facing impossible situations in your family, in your marriage, in your health, in your work, in your financial situation. Some hopes and dreams and expectations may have to die, and pain may have to be endured. But what God resurrects will be glorious, and we cannot now imagine it, because it may now seem impossible.

God calls us to ministry, to show mercy, to seek opportunities to speak the gospel into the lives of others. It’s impossible, we say. God cannot use us. Sure he can. To be a Christian is to be a part of something impossible.

I’m not easily aroused to hope. I stand at the edge of the Red Sea and prepare to die while Moses lifts his rod and the sea parts. I do not easily grab hold of the impossible and move forward. But that is what God calls us to.

This Easter my prayer is that we will once more be reminded that to be a Christian is to be a part of something wonderfully impossible.

Note: this was adapted from ConTent, the newsletter of Covenant Presbyterian Church of Oviedo, Florida

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