I have a good friend and colleague who recently said, “I always find it funny when Christians find something improbable.” Ah, what truth there is in such a profound statement! If our observing and celebrating of Holy Week and the Easter season teaches us anything, it is that we are a people of the improbable.
We are a people who believe in a baby whose very arrival on this earth would cause heavenly angels to come down to earth singing of his arrival, ordinary shepherds to receive prophetic visions in the still of the night, scholarly astronomers from the East to follow a brightly shining star on the expectations they would meet a King, and earthly rulers to speculate, scheme, and conspirer against the anticipated threat his very presence would have in their kingdoms and in the world.
We are a people who believe this baby, while born to a woman, was not born of an earthly father, but rather was conceived and fully formed in the womb of his mother by the Holy Spirit so that he would be fully human and fully Divine.
We are a people who believe that a child, who was born in a stable with work animals such as cows, sheep, and donkeys, would grow to a man who would be willing to ride a work animal, such as a donkey, over the threshold of a holy city where he knew he would face his death.
We are a people who believe that this child, who at twelve years old would receive praise and accolades from temple priests and religious leaders and then lose track of time and worry his parents while on a family visit to Jerusalem, would grow to be a man who would face temple priests and religious leaders in Jerusalem who had been plotting to kill him.
We are a people who believe a man from Nazareth who had been raised by a village woman and her carpenter husband working with their hands, would grow to be a man whose hands would multiply fishes and loaves to feed hungry people on a hillside, still the waters of a storm, give sight to the blind, calm tormenting spirits, heal a multitude of maladies, and restore life with just a touch and an unexplainable power.
We are a people who believe this man who spoke truth without apologizing, accepted all without judgment, offered solace without conditions, and lived, led, loved, and moved in this world without self-aggrandizing, seeking only to reflect the true nature of God, was such a powerful, transforming force in the world that some thought the only way they could stop this power was to kill it.
We are a people who believe this baby, this child, this man, this son of God and man rose from the dead to show us that not even death could control, limit, or hold down the power of his love and might.
Yes, all of this seems improbable, but it is what we claim to believe. For, we are an Easter people. We believe there is nothing improbable or impossible through the Risen Christ. This Holy Week and Easter season, may it be not just our lips which confess this truth, but every part of our being believing it and living the truth that NOTHING is improbable or impossible for those who believe and trust in the Risen Christ.
Blessings, Rev. Shana Johnson, ISC Conference Minister