I confess that my eyes tear each Easter Sunday when we sing "Jesus Christ is Risen Today." It isn't so much the words of the song as it is the triumphant melody and the exuberant singing of the congregation. It reminds me of what we as church should be, but are not. Called to testify of His Glorious Resurrection, to show its effect in us by becoming His ministering hands to his world, we fall short. We become dysfunctional social groups, combinations of feel-gooders, self-haters, do-gooders. And having fallen so short of the mark, we sometimes turn on each other and debate about theology. If church is the "body of Christ," we are a work unfinished.
And I am a work unfinished. Oh, I'm a good enough person compared to most, despite my working on "force multipliers" for the US military. Besides, not only has no one ever died (as far as I know) because of anything I've done (and on one or two projects not for my lack of effort), my particular history once put me in a position to help prevent a conflict that would have killed thousands. Yes, unlike the demonstrators in front of my lab on Good Friday, I have actually helped to make peace.
It's just that I want to be so much better than I am. And when I am in church, I want us all to be so much better than we are. Indeed, if we were as good as we are called to be, we would be almost unrecognizable. We would all radiate so much goodness, that you would have to spend some time in our presence to be able to tell that we were still really us.
Maybe that's why the followers of Jesus took so long to recognize him that first Easter morning, and in the days after. Maybe that's what Resurrection does to us. As our perfected, transformed, good unalloyed with bad, resurrected selves, maybe we are barely recognizable as having once been the masses of contradiction and compromise between good and evil (in other words ordinary human beings) that we once were.
Maybe that's what I yearn for — for myself and for all of us together. Resurrection. To follow our Lord, who on this day more than two thousand years ago by His Resurrection began the Resurrection of us all.
Surrexit Christus hodie! Alleluia!