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April 07, 2021

By The Rev. Kathryn A. Kleinhans, Ph.D., Dean of Trinity Lutheran Seminary

In Deed!

Mary Magdalene went and announced to the disciples, “I have seen the Lord.” (John 20:18)

Alleluia! Christ is risen!

Christ is risen indeed! Alleluia!

In this traditional Easter greeting, “indeed” functions as an adverb. It is synonymous with “truly” and is used to affirm the statement it follows. Christ is truly risen!

In the English language, we also experience some powerful word play in this affirmation. Split the word in two and the adverb becomes an adjectival phrase. Christ is risen indeed, and Christ is risen in deed.

The Gospels are full of accounts of what Jesus did “in deed” after his resurrection. He spoke with Mary Magdalene in the garden near the empty tomb. He appeared to the disciples in the upper room. He broke bread with a couple in Emmaus and opened their minds to the meaning of the Scriptures. He appeared to the disciples on the seashore and prepared a breakfast of bread and fresh fish for them. And he commissioned the disciples for the next phase of their ministry. “Feed my sheep,” Jesus tells Peter in John 21:17. “Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you,” Jesus tells the disciples in Matthew 28:19-20.

Jesus did more than rise from the dead. He rose from the dead, and he did things – things that demonstrated that the resurrection was not the end of the story but the beginning of a new story!

What about us? We have spoken the words, “Christ is risen indeed!” Now, how will our actions demonstrate that Christ is risen in deed?

Sixteenth century Spanish mystic Teresa of Avila wrote the following call to active Christian life:

“Christ has no body now on earth but yours; no hands but yours; no feet but yours. Yours are the eyes through which the compassion of Christ must look out on the world. Yours are the feet with which He is to go about doing good. Yours are the hands with which He is to bless His people.”

Christ is risen. Christ is risen indeed. May Christ continue to be risen in our deeds. Amen