Like Mary and Simon Peter and the gang, we cannot be silent witnesses of the resurrection. If it has any power, it must change our lives, and it must empower us to be party to changing our world.
The body of Jesus was not proof of the resurrection, but the Body of Christ was. Those scared and scattered disciples were changed and never slowed down in their mission to change the world. They were raised up by hope and became hope’s unrelenting ambassadors.
In Shawshank Redemption, after serving 20 years for a crime he did not commit, Andy Dufresne escaped, and, after 40 years, his old friend Red was finally paroled. Before he escaped, Andy made Red promise that if he ever got out of prison he would go to a certain stone fence and dig up something that he would find buried there.
Red found a note from his friend Andy and money for a bus ticket to a new life. The note said:
Red, if you are reading this note that means you have gotten out. If you’ve come this far, perhaps, you will come a little farther.
Andy goes on to invite Red to join him in Mexico where he has started a new life. He says to him, “Remember Red, hope is a beautiful thing, perhaps the most beautiful thing, and beautiful things never die.” The closing scene shows Red on a bus to meet his friend. He says:
I find I am so excited I can hardly sit still or keep a thought in my head. It is the excitement only a free man can know who is about to get a new start. I hope I can make it across the border. I hope I can see my old friend again and shake his hand. I hope the Pacific is a blue as it is in my dreams. I hope …
In this week after Easter 2014, my prayer is that we can make it across that border called death and see our friends again. In particular, to shake the hand of the One friend who made it possible to take this journey without fear.
On that day, when we cross that border and take the hand of our Friend, may it be that someone will say of each of us that we were the ones that gave them hope that they, too, could make it across.
by Michael Piazza
Center for Progressive Renewal