Mary Magdalene, after the crucifixion and resurrection, tells the other apostles, "I have seen the Lord!" This is the most powerful testimony one can have.
"I have seen the Lord."
A famous radio evangelist said he saw Jesus enter the evangelist's room, sit at the foot of his bed, and speak directly with him. Did he? I can't pass judgment on what someone believes about what they have seen. I can only judge if the statements are credible, meaningful, and relevant. That is the standard we should expect when we tell someone, "I have seen the Lord."
I have seen the Lord at work in my own experience. I have seen Him soften my own heart, and the hearts of others I have prayed for and with, so that together we can consistently demonstrate more of His character and less of our own.
I have seen the Lord at work in my own will, slowly and permanently changing my preferences to His preferences. I have seen the Lord enable me to forgive the unforgivable and overlook the insistently noisy irritations of life.
I have seen the Lord conquer my inner fears and replace them with courage and acceptance and boldness and bravery. I have seen the Lord move me away from isolation into community. I have seen the Lord.
Is this not the most compelling response to those who say no one returns from the grave, who say Scripture cannot be believed, who say the history of the Christian church is filled only with hypocrisy, prejudice, and war-mongering: "I have seen the Lord"?
No, I am not perfect, and the church is not perfect. Human perfection isn't at issue here. What's at issue is this: can I choose a path toward God, or am I left to wander on my own in the world?
After all of the Easter hymns, pageants, and services are over, the question remains: am I brave enough to say to any and all: "I have seen the Lord"?