The fact that Jesus is alive is indisputable. God himself is the first witness to this fact. Then come the twelve Apostles, to whom he appeared. Then the 500 other eyewitnesses recorded in Scripture. Then the countless witnesses throughout human history. And then me and my friends and family who know Him in our own lives.
How about YOU? Are you a witness to this truth yet?
Have you yet come to know that Jesus is indeed alive from the dead? That He can communicate with you. That He wants to share His love and treasures of wisdom and knowledge with you? That you are important enough to Him that He gave himself as a willing sacrifice to bridge the huge Chasm between you and His Father–Yahweh–the Only, true and living God.
He has opened to way to the Father for all those who are willing to believe. He has made us all “sons of God” through faith in His life, death, and resurrection from the dead.
This faith is not a blind faith. This faith is a faith based upon sufficient evidence and unimpeachable eyewitness testimony. This is a faith based upon personal experience as well. This is a faith that smashes all anti-supernaturalism. NO ONE who truly comes to know him and the Kingdom of God will remain a materialist. We believe in that which is also spiritual.
Today, because Jesus has risen, you can too. Today . . . because Jesus is alive, your spirit can be brought to life too. God is the one who accomplishes this in answer to your calling out to Him. When you choose to believe, and ask Him to come into your life. Get ready for weird and wonderful things to happen.
Invite Christ to be alive IN YOU! Then get ready for your life to change . . . significantly.
First, believe that Jesus died and rose to live again as He testified. Ask Him to produce a godly sorrow in you for your me-centeredness and self-conceit. This will open the way for repentance [the desire to change your mindset and direction in life away from your way to His]. When you repent (turn to Him), He will meet you in a way that you can understand. Invite Him into your life. Invite Him to be Lord. Watch what the living Jesus will do.
Life will still be life. You may face tremendous challenges or difficulties, but you will face them with Him. He will be all that you need in the midst of every trial. He will be your Counselor. He will keep you in the center of His love and take you safely home to the Father.
May the Lord be with you as we prepare to celebrate Resurrection Sunday this year. If He is already alive in you, may you manifest His life to others. If you’re just coming to know that He’s alive, may this year’s celebration have brand new meaning for you. God bless you richly. Grace and Peace to you.
QUESTION: Is Jesus alive in you?
Hansen, Ron. Atticus: A Novel. New York: HarperCollins, 1996. 247 pages.
Ron Hansen 1947—
Just when we thought that we would not see any more great American novels, Ron Hansen has given us, not only Mariette in Ecstasy but, far more to my liking, Atticus. Hansen has created a “sundog” with this fine novel.
Hansen paints his characters with words as the lead character, Scott Cody, paints with brush and canvas. Impressions. He daubs his canvas with an attitude, a gesture, a scene that smells, tastes, feels, sounds like life itself. From the moment Atticus sees his first Parhelion, at age sixty, foreshadowing identity issues; until his mysterious encounters in Mexico, we sense that we are there with him in all his pain and sorrow. We watch him and want to help him understand Scott. But we find that impossible. Atticus lives from his Weltanschauung (worldview) and Scott is held prisoner to his own.
The characters that orbit Atticus and Scott come alive and draw our suspicion. We’ve all known Scott, Renata, Stuart, and Reinhardt, even Carmen and Renaldo, yet they are not caricatures. Soon we do not realize we are reading anymore, but we are there, in steamy Resurreccion. The narrative catches us up and carries us along into places we have been and never want to be again. We know that something is wrong, but do not know what. We sense something amiss. Hansen planted clues all along the way. We are not only feeling that we are witnesses, we are.
We know that somehow Atticus and Scott’s relationship is bigger than the sum of its parts. Atticus, the compassionate father, will not let the apparent tragedy rest. Scott’s home is Resurreccion. Atticus must leave the U.S. Surely life can come from death. Just as the phoenix rises, new beginnings can rise from the ashes of hopelessness. Perhaps the natural, mirrors the supernatural: multiple sundogs here for him who has eyes to see, ears to hear. Twin suns in the sky. Scott and Reinhardt. The Codys and the prodigal and his father.
This brings us to the point of the experience. We come to the story within a fine story–Shakespeare’s play within the play. Atticus’s story. Scott’s story within the greater context of all that has brought Atticus to Resurreccion. Merely because the story is there to tell? Or has the author created a divine appointment for his reader? We’re afloat in a paranormal sense of proximity and place very close to divine grace.
Planned or no, the reader is faced with questions of life and death, identity, offense, and forgiveness, sin and redemption. Not only for the characters in the novel, but with a skillful use of understatement, the reader is confronted with herself. Yet never a sense of sterile, impersonal preachiness.
Hansen takes the reader on quite a ride but we find the road has twists and turns that sweep us to the grand finale. We find at the end, what J. R. R. Tolkien termed, the eucatastrophe (Greek: “good resolve”)—the redemptive climax that makes the reading investment worthwhile—the exceptional ending, one that uplifts from mists of melancholy, that draws out the best in the human spirit.
After all, Ron Hansen’s writing is much more than the obscene voyeurism of so many contemporary writers. They find it passé to conclude hopefully or with grace. History will forget them, but my guess is that generations to come will study Hansen’s work in Literature class.
1. Atticus was a finalist for the 1996 National Book Award for fiction.
2. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, also written by Ron has been made into a movie and was released in 2007, starring Brad Pitt.
QUESTIONS FOR READING GROUPS:
Other works by Ron Hansen are in my “Featured Books” list.
(c) 2004, David C Alves, revised 2011. Updated links.