Alan Knox wrote this post in April concerning the failure of the disciples to believe in the Resurrection until they had actually encountered the risen Christ. I immediately thought about the folks who came to faith during the first century. They also came to believe in the Resurrection because they encountered the risen Christ. Not in literal bodily form, but in the followers of Jesus they encountered in the day-to-day. It was the presence of Jesus in the "Christians" (little Christs) that cause those people to put their faith in Christ. Those early Christians lived a Resurrection life. They could not have done what they did had the Resurrection not have really happened.
Today, the world looks at the Church and sees a fractured, disunited body. They see us divided into camps based on anything from translations of Scripture to what styles of music. They see a group of people that are known more for what we are against than what we are for, and if we're not busy fighting the culture war we are fighting each other over how to interpret prophecy or who is a "real Christian." Is it any wonder the world doesn't believe in the Resurrection when they don't encounter the risen Christ? We celebrate Easter and put on a big show, but do we live in the power of that resurrection the other 364 days of the year?
The Resurrection of Jesus changed everything. It still does, if we realize that the same power that raised Jesus is now in us. Life as a follower of Jesus is not an easy one, especially when it comes to living in unity with those we disagree with. Our tendency is to hang out with those who we agree with. That extends to our gatherings as the church. We want to be comfortable and accepted, and I don't believe there is anything wrong with wanting to be accepted. What we fail to remember is that because of the Resurrection, we are accepted by God. Because of the Resurrection, we are part of God's family.
Because of the Resurrection, we have the power to live as brothers and sisters, as friends, as members of one another in the Body. We have the power to look past the differences, the disagreements, even the passionate (ahem) "discussions." Because of the Resurrection, we can have Jesus' prayer that we be one as he and the Father are one answered in and through us. When that happens, the world around us will be like the ancient Romans who said, "Behold how these Christians love one another."
Then they will encounter the risen Christ. Then, maybe we'll turn the world upside down.