Resurrection: Going Beyond Empty Tombs

One of the embarrassing secrets of reading books is that we often don’t read them to the end.

Rehearsing the Christian Story

As close as I have ever gotten to heading into a tomb such as might have been the type in which the body of Jesus was laid was once in college when I took a tour of one of the catacombs in Rome. Back in the day when I was a college student, it was not a tourist attraction; I merely took a bus to a church, went in and walked to the lower level, and was given a candle and shown the entrance. No Disneyland sort of experience: no crowds, no voiceover in the background, no one dressed in period costumes. Just me and a candle and niches in the underground walls.
I almost got lost. The directions on how to traverse the catacomb were not clear. At one point the candle began guttering. I was more than a bit scared, I must admit.
But it was an experience less focused on death—and more focused on resurrection—than I consciously thought at the time. Yes, I was where the dead had lain long ago. But I was also in the midst of where early Christians came to anticipate a new life as they gathered among the dead. In the very midst of fear and getting lost and sometimes directionless paths and the chance of darkness overcoming what little light there was, these people found hope for the future. They knew that resurrection is to be surrounded by signs of death and yet be confident that a tomb can ultimately hold no one.
We learn from rehearsing the Christian story week after week and year after year that the many tombs in our lives—both imposed by others and self-made—cannot hold unconditional love captive. Doors will be opened, stones rolled away, burial cloths set aside because they are no longer needed. Yes, love has the power to conquer any human obstacle—if we but allow it. It was a powerful story 2,000 years ago, and this Easter story remains just as powerful today. It is our resurrection message, and it is our privilege to share this message with a world that so needs to hear it.

Incarnation for this Generation: Christmas 2017

Should we decide to draw a picture of the Virgin Mary and Child in this Christmas season, first we need a crayon or paint pot or colored pencil or marker in the color of blue.

Martyrdom as Witness

Through June 3, I was in Cincinnati for a meeting of the House of Bishops theology committee. It had been a year and a half since we last met.

A Choice of Death or Resurrection

This week I spoke at the State Capitol prior to other religious leaders and I taking a petition to the governor’s office, asking him to commute the sentences of the people on Arkansas’s death row. For him to do so would be a powerful witness to the resurrection at the very time we Christians celebrate Easter.

The Quantum Mechanics of Christianity

Preachers love a good quotation. Most often those quotes come from Scripture, but sometimes they come serendipitously from the unlikeliest of sources.

Don't Let Cell Phones Fool You

Back in Tennessee, when I was a teenager,  at 4-H camp we had a darkroom, where we would spend hours in that somewhat mystifying process of being surrounded by pans of chemicals, turning negatives into photographs. Taking a photograph with actual film is a different experience than holding up a cell phone. You plan your photograph