November 25, 2019

Why Seek the Living Among the Dead?

Luke 24:1-8

The men said to them, “Why do you look for the living among the dead?”

—  Luke 24:5

Some years ago I accompanied a group of midshipmen on a trip to Israel. We visited many sites, including the places where Jesus died and was buried. It was fairly easy and yet painful to picture myself at the crucifixion, where Jesus died on a cross for our sin. I could relate to the words of a hymn: “Ashamed, I hear my mocking voice call out among the scoffers.”

Then we visited the site of Jesus’ empty tomb. A church is now built up around it. I tried to imagine myself at the resurrection too.

The question echoes through the centuries: “Why do you look for the living among the dead?” Jesus’ resurrection site is impressive. Throngs of pilgrims wait patiently to see and touch the empty tomb.

Did any come to try to validate their faith—as if they might actually hear the women’s reports and see the angels standing there? In a way, that too would be like looking for the living among the cold, dead facts of Jesus’ empty tomb.

How do we find the living Jesus today? Consider this: (1) begin each day by inviting Jesus to be active in your life; (2) today live in a way that shows you belong to him; (3) keep in touch with Christ, listening to his Word and talking with him in prayer; and (4) be on the lookout for Christ in every activity and interaction. Indeed, why would we look for the living Lord among the dead facts of this world? He is alive, and he wants to lead us into full life!

Risen Christ, be present and real to us, and confirm our faith as you engage with us today! Amen.

About the author — Norman F. Brown

Chaplain Norman F. Brown graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy, Annapolis, in 1969. He served aboard destroyers during the Vietnam conflict and ashore in San Diego, Calif., as an instructor. By then God had made clear his call to work in pastoral ministry, and Norman entered Calvin Theological Seminary, graduating in 1980. Chaplain Brown pastored churches during his ministry career but spent most of his time as a navy chaplain. During one assignment he served three years at Holy Loch, Scotland, where he and his wife, Ruth, encountered the Iona Community and their emphasis on spiritual disciplines. Chaplain and Mrs. Brown have three married children and nine grandchildren.

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