It is Easter, and we sing and talk about the resurrection of Jesus Christ! But I want to say loudly and clearly that it is not just something that happened 2,000-plus years ago. It is something I see and hear about daily. My office Oxford Dictionary defines resurrection as "revival after disuse, inactivity or decay." It is rising from the dead, the restoration of life and vigor. It can be seen, and felt and experienced.
Wherever and whenever the Spirit of Jesus Christ is present, no matter what place or space, resurrection will occur.
One place where I experience the resurrection most clearly is in the ministry of Rainbow Network in Nicaragua. I was there 15 years ago and saw those wonderful but poverty-stricken families that the world had pushed into a death tomb and rolled the stones of apathy, uncaring and not sharing against it to lock them in. Now what do I see after years of mission in Nicaragua guided by the spirit of the Risen Lord?
I see the resurrection of a dead educational system and thousands of students in 410 schools, with many going on to high school and some to college.
I see the resurrection of a dead health care system that has saved some 3,000 lives and brought health and wholeness to communities.
I see the resurrection of a dead economic system that has made some 60,000 small loans to families so that on their own initiative and by their own labor, hope arises.
I see the resurrection of a dead housing system as 757 families have built for themselves decent concrete block houses with metal roofs and doors that lock, located in areas of opportunity.
So, when the chorus on Easter Sunday sings that Christ is alive, I say "Amen," and point to Nicaragua and my dear sisters and brothers there.
I encourage you to learn more about how you can support the work of Rainbow Network by visiting www.RainbowNetwork.org or calling 417-889-8088.
The Rev. Mel West is a Columbia resident.