Tuesday, April 10, 2007

He Is Risen!

"He is not here; he is risen, as he said."
- The Gospel of Matthew, chapter 28, verse 6

"and if Christ has not been raised, your faith is in vain."
- The First Epistle of Paul to the Corinthians, chapter 15, verse 17

This past Sunday was Easter, or, as it might more truly be called, the Feast of the Resurrection. My Eastern Orthodox brethren call it Pascha, which is wonderfully evocative of the imagery of the Jewish Passover, and all the connections that evokes - the Sacrifice Lamb, and all that.

Easter, or, more to the point, the Resurrection, is the very crux and focal point of Christianity, its sine qua non - without the Resurrection, you don't have Christianity. With it, you have everything.

Over the years, I've had many rich meditations related to Christmas and the Incarnation - it has been an almost limitless source of deep and textured thought for me. Not so Easter and the Resurrection, and I'm at a bit of a loss to explain why. I mean, theologically, and all sorts of other ways (except commercially, I suppose) the Resurrection is a much bigger deal than the Incarnation, so why should I be so full of thoughts on Christmas, and so reticent about Easter?

I think, when you come right down to it, that there really isn't all that much to say about Easter - it is what it is, or it's nothing at all. Very stark, very cut-and-dried. Either Christ is risen, and Christianity is true, and we all owe our lives and our very being to the God who raised Him, or He isn't, and 2000 years of Christianity is a lie and a sham. Those are pretty much the only possibilities. Yes or no? And all of life hangs on the answer you give to that question.

It is easy for me to get rather overly 'theological' about it, but the basic fact of the matter is straightforward - either the tomb was empty, or it wasn't. If it wasn't, then there really is no particular story to tell - a good man died unjustly, a sad story, but history is full of those. But if the tomb was empty, then that demands that we come to terms with that very brute fact, and its implications for our lives. There is no in-between position available.

For myself, I can say that, "I know whom I have believed." (II Timothy 1:12). And I am only too happy to encourage any of you to make His acquaintance. I can honestly say that knowing Christ has made all the difference, and "the power of His resurrection" has transformed my life.

But each of you must reach his/her own conclusions - "what do you make of Christ?" And the whole Universe hangs in the balance. . .


As my Orthodox brethren say,

Christos Anesti! Alethos Anesti!
Christ is Risen! He is Risen indeed!

Happy Easter, everyone!


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