ANTIDOTE FOR THE TERRORS OF LIVING
By Jeremy Reynalds
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (ANS) -- Nobody
can deny that we live in a seriously troubled world.
In addition to ongoing terror threats and wondering how long it will be
before we see another 9/11, we continue to see evidence of the world’s
troubles on a daily basis.
In the last 36 hours we’ve seen a judge, his court reporter and a
deputy sheriff mercilessly gunned down in Atlanta (and that doesn’t
include another deputy sheriff who was also injured in the melee and a
reporter for the Atlanta Journal and Constitution newspaper who was car
jacked and pistol whipped).
Then there’s all the other violence and nastiness that doesn’t make
national headlines. For example. An article in a recent edition of the
Albuquerque Tribune online (www.abqtrib.com/albq/nw_state/article/0,2564,ALBQ_19863_3540676,00.html)
was headlined “‘Pervert’ dies in siege. Neighbors recoiled at
On top of that we have killings, muggings, rapes and burglaries in our
communities nationwide on a regular basis (tune in to your local
television news if you doubt me), rampant divorce, a disturbing lack of
morality among some religious leaders, a never-as-strong-as-we’d-like
stock market, and so the list goes on.
What a depressing scenario! It's no wonder that prior to his death
convicted Oklahoma City bomber Timothy Mcveigh was reported to have
told the authors of “American Terrorist,” (a book that chronicled
McVeigh’s life story and related his story of the crime) that he was
looking forward to his impending execution, because “this world just
doesn’t hold anything for me ... I’ll be glad to leave this (expletive)
Like McVeigh I also used to feel an overwhelming sense of futility
about life in this world. As Billy Graham once said, I was suffering
from “cosmic loneliness.”
However, a realization (resulting from a spiritual awakening almost 30
years ago) that Jesus Christ had risen bodily from the grave and had
conquered death, changed my whole life and replaced aimless futility
and loneliness with a sense of hope, purpose and destiny.
It was my new found purpose in life that some years later was directly
responsible for my founding Joy Junction, New Mexico’s largest
emergency homeless shelter. The Lord had been so good to me that I felt
constrained to pass on the good news of the resurrection of Jesus
Christ to those who were physically homeless, spiritually adrift and in
desperate need of a reason to keep on living.
Sadly, in today’s culture an unshakeable belief in the bodily
resurrection of Jesus Christ is thought of as being bigoted and
exclusive, or “old hat,” an outmoded system of thinking reserved for
those “ignorant” evangelicals who hold to a literal interpretation of
Yet such a belief could give some badly needed hope and encouragement
to the other Timothy McVeighs and American- hating terrorists waiting
in the wings looking for a place to happen. The hope offered at the
upcoming Easter season by Jesus Christ is the only way of preventing
another 9/11 or worse.
Those who dismiss the physical bodily resurrection of Jesus and neglect
making Him the basis for their lives, end up mocking the very
foundation upon which Easter is based. All they’re left with is the
empty and unsatisfactory shell of the Christian gospel.
Knowing that an increasing number of people spend more and more time
online, I thought I would see how Easter ranks in cyberspace. I went to
typed in “Easter.” In 0.09 seconds Google returned a staggering
hotchpotch of 21,600,000 hits.
While a number of hits gave a good definition of what Easter is all
about, sadly many of them had nothing at all to do with the
resurrection of Jesus Christ. One hit read, (sic) “Hoppy Easter Welcome
to a Holiday Celebration. Easter is the time of springtime festivals, a
time to welcome back the Tulips, the Crocuses and the Daffodils.”
Another read, “Easter site with lots of jokes, games and color in
sections for children. Easter Features.”
Then there was the requisite Easter egg site. “The Easter Egg Archive:
Hidden secrets in software, movies, music. The things you use and see
everyday probably have hidden Easter Eggs in them, and this is the
place to discover those Eggs.”
Now there’s nothing wrong with eggs, as long as the central theme of
Easter isn’t omitted. Sadly, most of the time it is. Easter is about
much more than colored eggs and as Asbury Seminar New Testament
Professor Ben Witherington pointed out, the Resurrection, which Easter
is all about, is “not just a spiritual change in a person’s life; nor
is it merely the blooming of flowers and trees when spring returns. The
Resurrection is the bringing back from the dead of Jesus Christ in the
Witherington tells a sad but revealing story about standing outside a
small English chapel on Easter Sunday morning. He was waiting to talk
with a church official about the upcoming service at which he was
scheduled to preach.
The man looked at Witherington and said he had to ask him a question.
Talking to Witherington, the church official asked “‘You do believe in
the Resurrection, don’t you?’ (Witherington) said, ‘Yes, absolutely,
that’s what Easter is all about; it’s the heart of the Christian
faith.’ And he replied, ‘I’m ever so relieved. The last chap who
preached on Easter didn’t.’”
The fact of the resurrection is the very heart and soul of
Christianity; not some mythical sort of unquantifiable spiritual
transformation, but a physical bodily resurrection. Christianity is the
only major world religion where the bones of its founder are not lying
in some tomb. That is why Biblical literalists (also known as
evangelicals, of which I am proud to be one) get so excited about the
Bible and proclaim that they have found the truth.
Proclaiming that you’ve found the truth is anathema to many academics,
whose opinions cloaked as truth ultimately filter down to mainstream
America and the rest of the world. At many secular academic
institutions it is a badge of academic honor to be on a continuous
search for the truth. However, try finding it. Then you’ll end up
getting labeled as a bigot.
This Easter, I encourage you to take an honest look at the claims of
Jesus Christ. If you do so, not only will you find a real purpose for
your life. You will also come away with the needed strength to cope
with everything that is occurring today in our crisis ridden world.
That is quite literally the best deal anyone could get during this
crisis ridden month as we approach the joy and the simplicity of
|Jeremy Reynalds is a
freelance writer and the founder and director of Joy Junction, New
Mexico's largest emergency homeless shelter, http://www.joyjunction.org or http://www.christianity.com/joyjunction.
He has a master's degree in communication from the University of New
Mexico and is a candidate for the Ph.D. in intercultural education at
Biola University in Los Angeles. He is married with five children and
lives in Albuquerque, New Mexico. For more information contact: Jeremy
Reynalds at email@example.com.
Tel: (505) 877-6967 or (505) 400-7145. Note: A black and white JPEG
picture of Jeremy Reynalds is available on request from Dan Wooding at firstname.lastname@example.org.