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Our vision as a community is to build an active, welcoming and creative Uniting Church presence in this region in the present, for the future'.

Surprised by Resurrection
Saturday, 23 April 2011 20:43

The three major celebrations of Christian faith plumb the depths and potentiality of birth, death and what the Gospel writers call resurrection.

Christian creeds revolve around these three experiences, two of which are simply human experiences and the third is is the arena of unbelief, for no one has experienced resurrection.

You may have had the experience of giving birth, or being present at a birth.  You may have sat with a family member, or a friend through the portals of death. In very different ways these are profound moments of life, times of grace.

But resurrection? There is nothing in human experience which enables us to make sense of this experience which Christians believe was the experience of Jesus the Christ.

It is non-sense. It is impossible. It doesn’t fit human experience one iota. The gospel witnesses don’t try and make it fit. Jesus’ resurrection is a new creation, an impossible possibility.

The Easter story is not about a ghost. It is not evidence that human beings survive death, or have immortal souls. The Easter gospel is that in their darkest hours women and men  experienced the impossible, the battered body of the crucified Jesus was not destroyed, but transformed.

I am agnostic about whether this was a bodily or a spiritual experience. People spend books debating these matters, and each marshals powerful arguments. Living in a society with a strong bent towards materialism makes believing in the Resurrection even harder. We like to be in synch with what we think others believe.

However, this story is not about an individual. It’s not a con job designed to trick the world.

This story is about us - our birth, our living, our dying and whatever lies behind that reality.

The United Church of Canada has a contemporary creed which invites us to say ‘in life, in death, in life beyond death we are not alone. God is with us.

It is St Paul who calls Jesus the second Adam. Drawing on the myth in Genesis in Adam all people are born to die. The victory of resurrection is that in the second Adam death is defeated. This is a gift for the whole world, what the Bible calls the new creation.

Can we prove it? No. Can we live it? Yes. The Resurrection story is continued in the book of Acts, and is continued in the world wherever communities choose to live in the paradoxical belief that Love always trumps death.

Alleluia. Christ is risen!