By Mike Coyner
I hope you had a happy Easter, and I hope that your pastor did not try to explain Easter or prove Easter, but rather proclaimed Easter. That was the advice of my preaching professor in seminary who said: “Don’t try to explain Easter, it is a mystery. Don’t try to prove Easter, it cheapens the experience. Just proclaim Easter and repeat the ancient affirmation: Christ is risen. Christ is risen indeed.”
That was and is good advice for all of us preacher-types who get to preach on Easter Sunday or anytime during the Easter season (the great 50 days from Easter to Pentecost). We preachers do not need to explain or prove Easter, we just need to proclaim Easter.
And yet, I believe there is another aspect of Easter which says to us: Prove it! Do you believe in Easter? Then prove it by the way you live your life. Do you believe Christ is risen? Then prove it by living in the power of the Resurrection. Do you believe in a risen Savior? Then prove it by a life which demonstrates your faith. Do you believe in Jesus? Then prove it by living in the peace, forgiveness, grace and compassion of Jesus.We are called to be the living proof of Easter. We are called to demonstrate to a doubting world that Easter is real. The proof of Easter is not the empty tomb, or even the appearances of the Risen Christ (notice how often the Bible tells us that some still doubted even when they saw Jesus). No, the real proof of Easter is in the transformed lives of the followers of Jesus. The early Christians demonstrated the reality of their Easter faith by their own changed lives. Others were amazed to discover those early disciples were changed, transformed, empowered witnesses whose integrity was not because of their fancy arguments or even because of their eye-witness testimony, but because they were NEW PERSONS.
Do you believe Easter is real? Then prove it by the way you live as a follower of the Risen Christ.
Coyner is bishop of the Indiana area of the United Methodist Church. This column originally appeared at Indiana United Methodists.