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Resurrection Day lessons: Love conquers death

The Rev. Salvatore Sapienza is silhouetted by the stained glass inside the Douglas Congregational United Church of Christ in the village of Douglas, Mich., on Tuesday Oct. 13, 2020.
The Rev. Salvatore Sapienza is silhouetted by the stained glass inside the Douglas Congregational United Church of Christ in the village of Douglas, Mich., on Tuesday Oct. 13, 2020.
Rod Sanford, for the Deseret News

“He is not here; he has risen, just as he said.”

— Matthew 28:6

In my opinion, this is one of the most powerful proclamations in the Bible. It is one filled with assurance, hope and affirmation. It is another divinely fulfilled promise. It reminds us that “God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten son” (John 3:16). God knew that a sinful world would need a sinless Savior.

The borrowed tomb that was once occupied by Jesus’ crucified body was empty. He said that he would rise and return, and he did. There are lessons we can extrapolate from the resurrection experience. There are metaphorical messages that can be applied to our life.

  1. Examine the parenthetical borrowed tombs in your life — those dark places that hold the lifelessness of your dreams, joy, passion and aspirations. The tomb has held on to, hosted, harbored the decay, deterioration and decomposition of your best self. What is that tomb for you? An employer? A past or current relationship? A diagnosis? Self-doubt?
  2. What we can rely upon is that the stone will be rolled away from our tomb. When the stone is rolled away, we will see light. Our hope will be restored. We will dream new dreams. Joy will be renewed. We will see clearer, love deeper, forgive faster and pray longer.
  3. We will rise. After we have been given our last rites, spoken our last words and taken our last breath, we will rise. We will rise with reinvigorated energy, power, peace and purpose.

The love of Christ is endless, unconditional and ever-present. It penetrates dark places. It rolls away stones from tombs, hearts and consciousness. It breathes life into what others may have eulogized, wrote off or witnessed as dead.

The love of Christ is available to everyone. There is no criteria for access to it. Jesus died for believers and nonbelievers, the churched and the unchurched. He died for atheist and agnostics. He died for those who are good, compassionate, generous and loving. He died for the meek, humble, homeless, abused and forgotten. He died for those who are angry, vindictive, mean and unforgiving. He died for those who pray incessantly and those who are too young to pray or don’t know how to pray or don’t want to pray or don’t have time to pray. No one is left out. We are all covered in His love.

It is love that allows us to continue living when the loss of a loved one makes us feel like we can’t go on. It is love that encourages us to anonymously give from our lack to someone who is in need. It is love that exercises compassion to the lost, wounded, broken and forgotten. It is love that compels us to apologize because making peace is more important than holding a grudge, getting even and being angry.

The resurrection of Jesus Christ, reminds us all that no matter how far we fall, he will pick us up. Even if the world rejects us, our family forsakes us or our friends abandon us, the presence and love of the Lord will always be with us.

The calendar tells us that Resurrection Day (also known as Easter) happens once per year. However, the resurrection experience can happen every day. Every day, we can ask for forgiveness, start all over, press reset and begin again.

The patience, power and protection of Christ permeates and pervades tombs. His resurrected and abiding presence promises freedom from bonds, redemption from sin and victory over death.

May the love and promise of the Lord allow you to remember his sacrifice, recognize his presence, reflect and reinforce his love, be resilient against challenges and rise above circumstances that attempt to hold you back and hold you down.

Jesus Christ is love. Love conquers death. Love always prevails. Happy Resurrection Day.

Theresa A. Dear is a strategist at The Human Capital Strategy Group and a national board member of the NAACP. Visit her website at theresaadear.com.