“But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have died” 1 Corinthians 15:20 (NRSV).
“Are you sure there aren’t any pieces missing?” I asked myself.
I was trying to assemble a puzzle that I had received some months before as a birthday gift. It is a very difficult puzzle, so I followed the advice of the experts: begin at the corners and slowly but surely complete the outside frame. Then, start filling in each piece using the frame as reference.
Of course, it is also important to look at the photo of the picture that makes up the puzzle you want to build so that you have an idea of what the end product looks like.
However, the photo is never enough. If you don’t start with the frame as reference it will be very difficult to continue.
When I think about the resurrection of Christ, I get the sense that we look mostly at the result, the resurrection, without taking into account God’s frame of reference: the life and teachings of Jesus. Sometimes, we seek to understand the resurrection without actually paying attention to the experiences, decisions and words of the One who is risen. Without all the pieces of Jesus’ life, the resurrection can become a doctrinal truth that has no impact or relevance for us today.
The lifestyle the Creator affirmed when God raised Jesus from the dead is shown in the Gospels. The Old Testament contains some violent passages, but Jesus did not live according to these. The Old Testament tells of the life of leaders who abused others, but Jesus led by way of daily service and dedication. The Old Testament speaks about the lives of very rich people, but Jesus chose to live simply.
During the time of Jesus, there were leaders who held correct doctrinal beliefs, but were immune to the pain of others. But Jesus lived a life of compassion. When Jesus lived, there were religious leaders who supported repressive governors that used violence and favoured the richest. Even so, Jesus took a preferential option for the poor while seeking social justice. By doing so, Jesus distanced himself from those who sought to establish that same justice through the use of violence and weapons. There were also people who built cultural, religious, economic and gender barriers when Jesus lived, but Jesus built community where everyone was valued, welcomed and loved equally.
The life that God resurrected was none other than the one that Jesus lived through the power of the Holy Spirit while deeply depending on the Father.
This kind of life provides us with a frame of reference to understand the resurrection. This kind of life also allows us to experience that same resurrection.
As we celebrate Easter Sunday and reflect on this reality, may we pray for the guidance and power of the Holy Spirit so that we are able to live in accordance with the frame of reference that Christ’s life provides us with.
Let us pray so that there will be “no missing pieces” in our political decisions, in our relationships and in how we manage our money.
Let us pray so that in all ways, our leaders and churches will reflect the model of the life that God resurrected from among the dead.
As a follower of the Risen One, César García, MWC general secretary