RISEN FROM THE DEAD. RISEN TO DO WHAT?
Archbishop Coleridge in a radio interview on Holy Thursday morning made the point that people can live without Easter eggs, without hot cross buns and even without holidays (central elements for many people where Easter is concerned). What they cannot live without is hope. And hope is what Easter is about. Not some superficial hope, but hope founded on a fact. Jesus was dead and rose to new life. Unlike Lazarus, the son of the widow of Nain and the daughter of Jairus whom Jesus raised from the dead, Jesus rose to a new life, a new way of existing which would never see death again. The three whom he brought back to life died again. We don’t know the circumstances of their dying whether it was from old age, an accident or illness, but all three of them died. Jesus did not.
A few days after they watched him die of asphyxiation on the cross – the body becomes so weak that the person being executed can no longer raise themselves up to draw breath – the men and women who had accompanied him in his work throughout the country met him alive. With some he walked along a road with them and helped them understand how suffering can be part of being faithful to God’s mission. With others he talked to them appearing in the locked room where they were hiding from the authorities fearful for their lives. With others he shared breakfast with them on the shores of the sea of Galilee.
As they digested this fact that he was alive and in a new way, they looked at life and death with new eyes. In the light of this new experience they left the locked rooms they skulked in and went into the market places and streets and told their fellow Jews that Jesus was the messiah, the anointed one, whose coming was what they hoped for and which was a central plank of their faith.
God who made them a people, delivered them from slavery in Egypt, brought them to this land, made good on the promise that one would come who would deliver them from all their enemies and bring them into a new kingdom. The disciples thought they would conquer the Romans and in some military way assume power and all the worldly glory that rulers had. In fact they would conquer the Romans and would find glory but not by force of arms and armies.
Jesus rose from the dead to a new way of existing. He was no longer bound by the laws of this way of living. His coming and going had no need of ordinary means of travel or entering places through doors. He came and went free of those restrictions. He rose to help his friends understand just what burst into human history with him. He, in his risen state, was what lay in store for the whole race. Death was not a hole people fell into never to be seen or heard of again. Death was a transition point. It is like a station where people change trains not a terminus where all get out.
With this hope of a new way of existing, the church was born. As Jesus walked onto the world stage asking permission of no one to be there and living the mission he saw he received from the Father, so the Church, the men and women who breathed in the spirit Jesus breathed on them on Easter Sunday, they too walked out boldly to invite others to live the new life they found in Christ.
This is what we continue to live here and now. As you renew the promises made at your baptism, as you make them your own as an adult, leave the graves you may be in and rise to a new way of existing even this side of death.
A happy and holy Easter to you all.
Fr Adrian Farrelly
|Apr 16, 2015
|Sunday of the Resurrection of the Lord 05.04.2015