Jan Hegi relayed a good story to me recently. On Wednesday nights, we have been sending out two vans to pick up children for our Kids Hope ministry. As the van picked up a group of kids on its route, one of the children climbed in and they started singing, “If you love Jesus…If you love Jesus…clap your hands.” That was so encouraging because we know where this child learned that song – it was here through Jim Sager leading in our KidsHOPE program. There are some great things happening on Wednesday nights as many volunteers are ministering to children, loving them and teaching them about Jesus.
Stories like this encourage us because they are signs of hope. This Sunday, we celebrate the resurrection of Jesus. The power of the resurrection is found in the hope that it brings. Jesus’ resurrection declares that sin and death are not final. They do not reign and they do not win. This declaration is two-fold. One part of it is for the future. We do not grieve the loss of loved ones as others do. Rather, we grieve in hope because we believe that those who die in the Lord will experience resurrection, just like Christ. We look forward to a day when the dead are raised, we are given new bodies, and we live in a new heaven and earth in the full presence of Christ.
But the second part of resurrection hope is for the present. The power of sin within our life and this world is breaking. Its grip is loosening. Its enticement is passing away. As we come to Christ, we experience this reality in baptism. We undergo a resurrection where our old selves die and we become new in Jesus. This moment prefigures the full resurrection that will happen at the end. But with the resurrection power of Jesus now flowing through our veins, hope begins to well up in our heart. Because now, what is broken can be mended, what is divided can be reconciled, what is wounded can be healed, what is lost can be found – all through the power of Christ. No, this does not happen perfectly in this world, for this world is still broken. But as we wait for its renewal, often we see signs of hope – moments where the resurrection power of Jesus is at work here and now.
Those moments are like: people choosing to reconcile instead of choosing divorce, someone offering forgiveness instead of hate, an individual submitting to Christ instead of self, an addict finding sobriety after years of addiction, a disciple welcoming the stranger, and yes, churches teaching children to sing songs about Jesus. I encourage you this Spring to look for signs of hope each day. Jesus is alive. Sin has been broken. The hope of resurrection is real. We can see traces of it when we look.