Originally posted May 5, 2011, at Reflections. Republished with permission of the author.
In my world I’m often being bombarded with forms to fill out. People want information about you every time you apply for something.
We have many ways of defining ourselves. For example there is male or female, Norwegian or I’m sorry you’re not, Caucasian, Latino, Asian, and, of course, there is always “other,” whatever that means.
Other ways to define ourselves, could be Lutheran, New Yorker, expatriate. Some of my less than religious friends may call themselves agnostic or even atheist.
People of the resurrection
Self-definition is an interesting concept. I wonder how many of us would define ourselves as people of the resurrection?
Haiti to me seems like a godforsaken place, if there ever was one. It seems to be right in the sights of every hurricane that blows through the Caribbean.
Its people always seem to be victimized by bad government and corrupt officials that make this country seem out of control and unmanageable.
I was recently watching an episode of “No Reservations” on the Travel Channel in which Anthony Bourdain took his show to Haiti and he was shocked to see how horrible the conditions are.
Interestingly, Sean Penn has spent a lot of his money and time in the past year trying to help this country.
While he has done a lot of good, one can feel numb because there is so much poverty, sickness, corruption, death and destruction.
The latest earthquake just added to the curse that Haiti seems to experience as part of its destiny.
What I found striking about Hanson’s letter was his quote from Josephus Livenson Lauvanus, the president of the Lutheran Church of Haiti.
As he and Hanson walked through the devastation of Haiti’s earthquake, Lauvanus proclaimed, “We will not be defined by rubble, but restoration, for we are the people of the resurrection.”
The Easter message
Isn’t that the Easter message? As believers, we do not have to define ourselves by our sins, our mistakes, our despair or our depression.
According to the Christian proposal to the world, we are people of the resurrection. The resurrection of our Lord defines us as it has defined our church from the beginning.
Many may think that Christmas is the most important holiday of the Christian faith, but in reality it was not celebrated until centuries after Jesus’ birth.
What started the Christian faith, defined it and started the church, was Easter. Without the resurrection, there would not be a church because Jesus’ disciples would have packed it in and gone home.
It was a resurrection that sparked a hope, that opened a door, and it inspired all who followed him to begin a community centered around the resurrection.
What defines our church and us is our faith that makes us hopeful people who against all odds will not be defined by death, despair or tragedy.
Resurrection becomes a last word — a word of hope to the whole community that new life and forgiveness define who we are as the people of God.
So in the end, the resurrection of our Lord says, “Love is stronger than hate and life will overcome death into eternity.”
Find a link to Marvin Henk’s blog Reflections at Lutheran Blogs.