Alleluia, He is Risen, Risen Indeed

From Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury’s Easter Sermon (my emphasis):

So what does it mean to say that, despite all this, death is ‘defeated’? When death happens and growing stops, there are no more plans, no more hope of control: for the believer, there is only God left. Just as at the very beginning of creation, there is God, and there is the possibility that God has brought into being by his loving will. When death has done all it can do, God remains untouched and his will is the loving and generating will that it eternally is. When we look at death, we look at something that can destroy anything in our universe – but not God, its maker and redeemer. And if we accept that we shall die and all our hopes and schemes fall into the dark, we do so knowing that God is unchanged. So to die is to fall into the hands of the living God.

That is why the effort to keep death daily before us is a source of life and hope. It is to commend ourselves every day into God’s hands, trusting that he is eternally a loving creator, in whom there is no darkness at all, as the New Testament says. (I John 1.5) And when we let ourselves go into God’s hands, we do so confident that he is free to do what he wills with us – and that what he wills for us is life. The Easter story is not about how Jesus survived death or how the spirit of Jesus outlasted his mortal frame or whatever; it is about a person going down into darkness and the dissolving of all things and being called again out of that nothingness. Easter Day, as so many have said, is the first day of creation all over again – or, as some have put it, the eighth day of the week, the unimaginable extra that is assured by the fact that God’s creative word is never stifled or silenced.

The realistic sense of death (which I pointed to yesterday in the post on the tragic forgotten nature of Holy Saturday) is what allows us to truly believe in resurrection and it actually be resurrection.  Otherwise as Williams points out saying death isn’t the end is not Christian hope but a tranquilizing error-laden optimism or denial of the reality of death.

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Published in: on March 23, 2008 at 8:50 am  Leave a Comment  
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