The Author

Resurrection Hope

When I was in seminary, I worked in a little church on the industrial side of Louisville, Kentucky. It was in a part of town that had seen much better days, a literal backwater of the Ohio River, where the more affluent of the city once kept weekend cabins. Because of the tendency of the river to flood that part of town, the cabins had long ago been abandoned by the wealthy, only to be occupied by folks who couldn’t afford anything else. The area was known as Lake Dreamland, but it wasn’t.

The church membership came primarily from individuals who lived and worked in the shadow of the industrial plants and others who were simply hanging on by their fingernails in those cabins by the river. While there was some economic separation between those who were unemployed and those who held union jobs, what bound them together was stronger. Almost all of them had come to the city from the coal mining region of eastern Kentucky and West Virginia. They had abandoned the danger of the mining life for the uncertainty of life in the city.

Those folks have been much on my mind the last few days as I have watched from some distance the efforts to rescue those last miners from the cave explosion and fire disaster playing out in West Virginia. While it has been many years since I have been with them, I think that I know what some of them are thinking.

They are watching all of this effort with a tempered hope that the miners will be found alive, all the while expecting that they will not. Experience has taught them that life can be hard; that, as the psalmist (144:4) says, “Man is like a mere breath, his days are like a passing shadow.”

While they are watching along with the world, they are also praying for the rescuers, for the men, for their families. As they remember descending into the belly of the earth in former days, they know it is a dangerous place that is only escaped each day by the grace of God. For them, leaving a cave entrance is like being raised from the dead.

They are also trusting God. For them, Easter is more than a one day celebration. In the midst of the dying, resurrection is a rock that will not shift, a shaft of light that banishes the darkness, a breath of clean, fresh air.

These folks been much on my mind the last few days, for I learned much from them, not the least of which is that what is true for them is true for all of us.