Minister’s Message: Through the Ressurection, we see death cannot stop our celebration

When death could not hold Jesus, it suffered a mortal wound.

  • By Rick Cupp For the Peninsula Clarion
  • Thursday, April 1, 2021 10:54pm
  • LifeReligion

There is a sacred place and a sacred symbol in Oklahoma City. The symbol is a tree and the place is the shaded area beneath the tree.

The tree’s an elm over 90 years old. Tourists drive considerable distances to see it. You can see the tree on posters and letterheads. Which seems surprising because it’s not a particularly good-looking tree. Its size isn’t amazing and its bark isn’t unusual.

But one day someone named Timothy parked mere yards away from the tree in a Ryder rental truck. The man’s last name was McVeigh and the tree was in front of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building. You know the story. The truck was packed with homemade explosives that went off on April 19, 1995.

In just over three weeks it will be the 26-year anniversary of the bombing. The blast destroyed a third of the building, killing 168 people and injuring more than 680 others. It destroyed or damaged 324 other buildings in a 16-block radius and destroyed 86 cars. The blast stripped the tree of its branches and buried it underneath rubble.

The tree was ignored until the first green sprouts starting pushing their way through burnt, dust-covered bark. And now the tree is strong and alive and has been named the Survivor Tree. It is a beautiful testament to how life can survive in the face of overwhelming destruction.

But it is the Survivor Tree, not the Resurrection Tree. It did not die and come back to life; it simply stayed alive through amazing violence.

This Sunday is Easter. Why are Christians celebrating? We will celebrate the life of a sacred man. But he is not sacred because he survived against the odds. He is not sacred because of the wonderful things he taught or did. He is sacred because he is God. He came to this earth and died because of his love for us. He died completely and thoroughly. He was buried. And on the third day he rose from the dead.

His body was not wounded and then able to recover. Jesus did not beat the odds; he defeated death.

That’s why we celebrate Easter. And many of us would say that’s why we celebrate, period. No matter how tough the times, no matter how angry the angry, no matter how violent the violent, we can live with celebration at the very core of our being. Even the greatest loss of all, death, cannot stop our celebration. Though we grieve when people we love pass away, we live with the hope that we will meet again.

When death could not hold Jesus, it suffered a mortal wound. As said in the last line of John Donne’s wonderful sonnet, “Death Be Not Proud”, “death, thou shalt die.”

So join us or your church family this Easter. It will be a celebration! But it won’t be a celebration of survival, as awesome as that can be. It will be a celebration of resurrection!

Rick Cupp ministers at Kenai Fellowship, Mile 8.5 Spur Highway. Worship is at 11 a.m. on Sunday and is streamed live onto Facebook. Go to Rick Cupp’s page, looking for the picture of the church sign. Worship will be posted there.

More in Life

Quinoa Chickpea Kale Salad is packed with filling protein and great nutrition without being too heavy on the stomach. (Photo by Tressa Dale/Peninsula Clarion)
Fresh and hearty salad to fuel springtime’s busy days

Quinoa Chickpea Kale Salad can be simply poured into a bowl and eaten without breaking stride

When Takotna resident Alec MacDonald registered in February 1942 for the military draft, he falsely claimed to have been born in 1900 in Chautauqua County, Kansas.
The Separate Lives of the Man Who Fell — Part 1

Even now, with much more of the truth laid bare, mysteries remain

Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion
A copy of H Warren’s “Binded” is held in the Peninsula Clarion building on Thursday.
Off the Shelf: Political resistance bound to the personal

“Binded,” a new poetry anthology by Alaska author, confronts nonbinary, rural existence

“A Thousand Cabbages and other poems” by Mary Mullen. Published by Hardscratch Press, 2023. (Promotional photo)
Taking a wider view

‘A Thousand Cabbages and other poems’ sweeps across time and distance in Mullen’s second outing

Nick Varney
Unhinged Alaska: The spring emergence of Willie

He grudgingly skulks out of hibernation only when the sun has decisively conquered the last drifts of winter

Minister’s Message: Don’t give up on life

No doubt, life has its difficulties

People gather in Ninilchik, Alaska, on Friday, August 5, 2022 for Salmonfest, an annual event that raises awareness about salmon-related causes. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
Blues, brass, Cajun and local acts to perform at ‘eclectic’ Ninilchik festival

Salmonfest headliners include Old Crow Medicine Show, Sierra Ferrell, Leftover Salmon, Pigeons Playing Ping Pong, Jackie Venson, The Burroughs and the High Hawks

A painting by Charlotte Coots is part of “Making Her Mark,” the June show at the Kenai Art Center in Kenai, Alaska, on Tuesday, May 30, 2023. (Jake Dye/Peninsula Clarion)
Women artists dive below the surface in new Kenai art show

“Making Her Mark” features the work of Charlotte Coots, Abbey Ulen and Shannon Olds.

Most Read