Resurrection - February 24th, 2019
I guess one of the easiest things to get muddled up on in Christian faith is the Resurrection. To some it is the same as life after death, but I don’t think it is quite the same. Ask many people whether they believe in life after death and they will think of their souls being released, joining their loved ones, or point to stars twinkling in the night sky. It doesn’t necessarily mean they believe in the Resurrection.
A great Christian writer is Tom Wright. He says if you were to take out the bits in the Gospels about the birth of Jesus, you would lose a couple of chapters in Matthew and a couple in Luke. If you were to take the Resurrection out of the Gospels you would lose the whole of the New Testament. It’s that central.
Do you remember when Jesus told the man next to him on the cross that he would be with him that day in paradise? He didn’t mean that was the end of the road. Paul looked forward to departing and being with Christ, but that was just the beginning, too. He looked forward beyond ‘life after death’ to Resurrection. This was when God does something new with each of our bodies in a newly remade world. Now I cannot imagine precisely what that might mean. That would be impossible. But what we can do is see what happened to Jesus at Easter as a remarkable sign, an inaugural step.
Paul believed Resurrection had begun in Jesus. He believed we were called to anticipate the kind of world God would one day bring about in the way we live our lives - so it has a direct bearing on the present. It put God right at the centre of his life today. And it gave him hope for the immediate future - indeed for whatever future God had in store for him later.
Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed— in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed.
Lord, you give us the grace and the energy to renew the world in which we live. Help us to make it look like the one you had in mind. Amen.