Since Maundy Thursday here in the Cathedral, we have been involved in a tremendous drama. Through the exploration of Holy Scripture, the enactment of the liturgy, the rich and beautiful music, we have travelled some distance to consider the days which lead up to the crucifixion of Jesus Christ. Those of us who have been part of that drama over the last three days will have experienced I hope, the colour and profundity of the ancient rites of the church as she approaches this mighty day on which Christians throughout the world gather to celebrate the solemnity of the Lord’s Resurrection from the Dead.
To come to a real Easter joy it is necessary to pass through the reality of Good Friday. The resurrection makes its true impact on us, when we see that it is God in Christ who experiences victimisation, discrimination, torture and death, horrors that remain with us in our world today. Even here in this place, we are all appointed to die. But despite our experience of a world that continues to spiral around the dark vortex of human wickedness, we are invited by the truth of Christ’s resurrection, to move through the maelstrom with renewed confidence that Christ has overcome death to win us back, no matter how far we find ourselves having travelled into the dark regions ourselves. In this world, we live in a place that is far from knowing the peace and beauty for which we were created; but we are no longer cut off from the divine promise of life. In Christ, God has reached down to us – that we might be raised up to Him.
What difference does it make that Christ is risen? I guess we want the resurrection to be the answer to all our questions, the ending to all our doubts and fears. But Easter is not closure. Far from it: it pulls us into new journeys with endings and beginnings we can never predict.
This resurrection hope is here today for all to receive. St Paul, shortly after the death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth, had rigorously set about persecuting the early followers of the Lord, zealously trying to stamp out this mysterious and what he saw, dangerous threat to the established religious order of which he was a part. His dramatic encounter with the risen Christ converted his heart and mind to the extent that without his body of writings, we would not have had as clear and robust a vision of what God has done for us in Jesus Christ. Writing to the fledgling church in Colossae (part of modern day Turkey) he urged them “if you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is….Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth, for you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. When Christ who is your life is revealed, then you also will be revealed with him in glory.”
We are invited then to display the hope of the resurrection in our daily living, lifting our actions and our motives into Christ’s good realm, doing so even when that joy and goodness appears to be invisible in a world that is dark. The power of Christ’s resurrection can begin today in your heart, it can raise us to a place where our true selves are revealed, and that is the essence of God’s glory and indeed, it can be ours to share.
From today, Easter is the truth by which we live and die – and live again!