Doors of Resurrection
By James E. Brenneman, President of BST
“Death hath ten thousand several doors for us to take our exit.” So wrote the 17th century Shakespearean actor John Webster. Our own experiences tell us the truth of this adage. Whether by COVID, horrible accident, murderous rampage, old age, or say, a crucifixion, death has many doors.
But, so also, life. Life, too, “hath ten thousand several doors for us” to make our entrance. The hymn writer sings of life’s several entrances in the natural world: In the bulb there is a flower; in the seed, an apple tree; in cocoons, a hidden promise: butterflies will soon be free! In the cold and snow of winter, there’s a spring that waits to be.”
The resurrection of Jesus, as described in the gospel of John, chapter 20, generated several doors to new faith and life for the followers of Jesus. For John, the “beloved disciple,” faith entered wholly formed without any evidence but the empty tomb. John “went in and he saw and believed.” Period. John’s intuitive faith bore its own rationality: faith as “the substance of things hoped for” (Heb. 11:1). Mary Magdalene experienced the resurrection as one weeping and wondering who stole Christ’s body. Her sorrow then kept her from seeing the resurrected Jesus standing right in front of her. Her faith surged only after she heard the voice of Jesus calling her by name. Then, there’s Thomas. His intuitive skills were underdeveloped. His faith required tangible, physical signs beyond a reasonable doubt. Thomas insisted on touching the scars of the resurrected Christ. He got his wish. Jesus replied, “Blessed are those who have not seen and yet have come to believe.”
Many are life’s entrances to a living faith, to new life, to a resurrection, or to any other of life’s great mysteries, like love or beauty. We respond to these entry points in many different ways, as well. And that’s okay. God opens the door to a living faith in as many ways as God’s Spirit is creative and we are peculiar. The door to life is open for the easily convinced, the intuitive soul, the protestor, the skeptic, the sorrowful, the just and unjust, indeed, to all seven billion of us on this our home planet.
At BST, we prepare students to respond affirmatively to the ten thousand several doors that life opens up for them. We also remind all who enter the classroom here of the whole range of possible responses that lead from the empty tomb into resurrection life. They are also reminded that on the other side of the empty tomb stands Jesus, whom John declares to be “the Christ, the Son of God, that through believing, [we] may have life in his name.”
From all of us at BST, Happy Easter!