Monday, 28 March 2016

Easter Monday

Readings: Acts 2:14, 22-33; Psalm 15; Matthew 28:8-15

Fear, and awe, and joy, are the emotions that accompany great positive changes in reality. Like the birth that brings pregnancy to an end, there is struggle and anxiety, but finally, on the far side, a new reality that can seem, sometimes, incredible. My brother told me that the most amazing feeling of his life was when his first child was born and he was told 'you have a son'.

Individuals and families, communities and whole nations, struggle, sometimes for very long periods, trying to find their way through, or around, some problem, some difficulty, some darkness that corrupts their life and blocks their access to life's fullness. The moment of breakthrough is the outcome of suffering and prayer, of engagement and passion, of perseverance and trust. But still when it comes it feels like a pure gift. It has been worked for but is still experienced as unexpected. It seems to be more than the sum of its parts, more than the work that went into it.

These kinds of human experiences are helpful in thinking about the resurrection. Because it is a new creation, it escapes our categories and we are unable to understand it. But we try, and begin to see it in terms of what we have known before, the promise life holds, the undeniable goodness there is in life and in love. So the apostles find in the psalms, those old and familiar prayers, intimations of the resurrection, prophecies of the new creation. Totally unexpected, a complete surprise, a shocking sequel, they need help if they are to find the language in which to speak of what they have seen and heard.

'The one who was dead is alive.' This is the simplest way of stating the new reality. He was undoubtedly crucified and killed, and he is with equal certainty raised to life. Why, and how, are questions for later. The present moment is one for simple proclamation: Christ is risen. Let us believe it, and rejoice. Alleluia!

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