Have you ever had an experience you would describe as unbelievable? Not something surprising. Not something remarkable. Something that when you saw it, you just could not bring yourself to believe it? To believe it meant that your understanding of how things work was wrong. Magic shows are like that. Several years ago, AJ and I went to see David Copperfield at the Benedum. Big tricks with lots of props and fanfare. Then he came down into the audience with a little table and started doing card tricks coin tricks and tricks with people’s rings. Everything made you want to turn to the next person and say, “How’d he do that?” Then he pulled out this big screen on stage. He and his assistants moved slowly behind the screen so all you could see was their silhouettes. As soon as Copperfield got behind the screen, there was a big bang, a flash of light and a cloud of smoke on stage. Immediately, everything on the stage was gone. Just a moment later, I heard this gasp behind me. We all turned and looked. There was Copperfield and his assistants in the middle of the auditorium, in the middle of the crowd, all smiles and posing, like they had been instantly transported there. There was silence for a moment then the place erupted in cheers. I literally shouted out “Wow!” I turned to AJ and said, “That is the most amazing thing I have ever seen!”
That is what I am talking about. Something happens that is beyond belief. Something you know must be a trick because to believe it happened shakes your world. It means that everything you absolutely know to be true, is now suspect. I knew that people don’t just disappear here and pop up there. There must be some explanation. An explanation that confirms it was just a trick. That your understanding of the way the world works is true.
That is how many folks approach Jesus resurrection. They are torn. They want to believe it because it is such good news. But they have trouble believing it. Because if Jesus really was resurrected, our understanding of the way things work is now suspect. People don’t come back from the dead, right? So, if Jesus really was resurrected, that has to change the way they look at the world. If Jesus really was resurrected, maybe we really do have to change the way we live! But it’s still hard to believe.
Boy wouldn’t it be nice if we could come up with some scientific proof? We’d have an easier time then, right? But I am not so sure. Listen to this comment from this month’s National Geographic:
We live in an age when all manner of scientific knowledge … faces organized and often furious opposition. Empowered by their own sources of information and their own interpretations of research, doubters have declared war on the consensus of experts. There are so many of these controversies these days, you’d think a diabolical agency had put something in the water to make people argumentative. And there’s so much talk about the trend these days—in books, articles, and academic conferences—that science doubt itself has become a pop-culture meme.
“Science doubt”. Wow. Sounds like “fake news” proclamations that are made whenever we don’t want something to be true. You could basically substitute “faith” for “science” and the article could be about “faith doubt”. What people of faith have been hearing for over 2000 years. So, what are we to believe? Well, come hear about it Easter morning at 8:30am and 11am at John McMillan Presbyterian Church where Pastor Jeff will preach “Not an April Fool” from 1 Corinthians 15: 1-11. We will also have a sunrise service at 7:00am at the Columbarium (inside in the event of inclement weather) where Pastor Jeff will offer a reading from Walter Wangerin’s “The Book of God”. Join us to celebrate the Resurrection of our Lord!