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*Be warned, I am about to admit to complete, irrational, unreasonable belief.*
I am a mostly rational person when it comes to faith. But there are a few things that I believe that are irrational—at least from a 21st century scientific perspective. The biggest: I believe in the resurrection hook, line, and sinker. The virgin birth—totally
not convinced. I think Mary and Joseph had sex. Good for them! Jesus walking on
water? Powerful metaphor. But the resurrection, I believe in literally, to my very core. Perhaps this is just faith. Perhaps this is just hopeful thinking. I’m not sure.
I am a questioning believer and an adamant follower of Jesus. I’m not big on
doctrine, but I’m an ordained minister—go figure? I’m the first person to admit
I think the Bible is riddled with mistakes and even some blatant mistruths, that
prayer is complicated and mostly only changes my internal attitudes, and the
doctrine of substitutionary atonement (read my former blogs) is hog wash. Don’t
worry; I can’t be kicked out of the church for saying these things. I’ve already
broken my ties with any denomination.
But the resurrection? The belief that Jesus was dead and three days later walked out of the grave, appeared to the women, stuck out his bloody hands to Thomas to reassure him, and then ate fish beside the sea shore with the other disciples who had fled and gone back to business as usual. Yes, I believe it all. And because I believe this, I believe also that Jesus wasn’t just that guy, but the guy, the human form of God.
A faithful companion along the journey commented: “Sorry, Abby, I can’t worship a
zombie.” I respect that and even find the comment comically accurate. So why do
I believe in the resurrection? I don’t have an answer. At least not a good
answer. I can only offer the following:
I believe in God and for this reason, I believe in hope, even when realistic people
tell me to be hopeless. I gave up believing that God could rescue starving
orphans, Haitians from earth quakes, a mother with debilitating depression,
victims of violence, struggling families, a child with every learning disability
known (my list could continue). So if I believe in a powerless God and every day
I encounter the utter brokenness of this world, then what’s the point? I am left
with no choice than to believe in a God who does something!
I believe in a God who loves.
I believe in a God whose love is more powerful, more healing, and more creative than anything we broken humans can imagine.
I believe in a God who invites us into a dance of co-creating love.
I believe in a God whose love is active in this world through this dance of co-creation.
I believe in a God who grants hope to the hopeless. Real hope.
What does this have to do with the resurrection? The resurrection is the ultimate
expression of God’s co-creating love.
God did not possess the sort of military power that could defeat the systematically
violent Roman Empire. Hence Jesus died a brutal death on the cross. But God did
possess the power of co-creating love that sprang Jesus from the grave.
Together, Jesus and God defeated suffering and death with this co-creating love.
The resurrection, the defeat of the grave, continues to offer today the final
This final word gives me hope for the starving orphan, the depressed mother, the
individual facing PTSD after a childhood filled with violence, the cancer
patient, the Haitian rebuilding his community. The resurrection calls me to
dance with love on my darkest days, when I am sure there is only suffering to be
found in the world. The resurrection calls me to co-create in this world,
instead of sitting and weeping. The resurrection calls me to roll up my sleeves,
to pull out my check book, to fall to my knees, to utter a prayer, to hold on.
The resurrection is God’s final proof that love is more powerful than anything
else, even evil, even death.
I know that what I believe can be questioned. I know my systematic theologian
husband can poke holes in my argument. I don’t care. It’s what I believe. It’s
the experience of one broken disciple, following Jesus, placing one foot in
front of the other on the journey, and feeling powerlessness yield to an even
Rev. Abigail A Henrich (ehm!) is an ordained minister who earned her stripes at Princeton Theological Seminary and Colgate University. That said, Abby is really a mother-pastor-spouse who lives in a kinetic state of chaos as she moves from her many vocations: folding laundry, preaching, returning phone calls, sorting lunch boxes, answering e-mails, and occasionally thinking deep thoughts in the shower. Unabashedly she is a progressive Christian who believes some shaking up has got to happen in the church.