Christ is Risen!

Saturday 11th April 2009
Year B, Easter Eve
Holy Trinity, Hurstpierpoint
Easter Vigil
Mark 16:1-8

Christ Is Risen!

There is a strong sense in which we ought to take immediate pleasure in the lighting of the fire, the processing of the Paschal candle, the intoning of the Easter Proclamation and the recounting of our salvation history and then, the tumultuous re-enacting of the Resurrection, life out of death, in re-affirming our baptismal vows. For those of us who have observed the season of Lent and lived in the plangent communion of Holy Week, there is a perfectly, simple, human need to celebrate; at last, we have got there! Christ is Risen!

And in a wider sense, too, we ought to take pleasure in the assurance that when all else fails - and, for that matter, when all else succeeds - we still have Our Risen Lord, reminding us what it means to be a Christian.

But in the widest sense of all, in considering the Resurrection as a cosmic event, we have cause to celebrate the whole creation project, about which we have heard in our readings, its radical historical dimension in the incarnation, and its totally anti-intuitive climax. For those of us here, this is an intensely moving and life-affirming experience which never palls; but, whether people know it or not, this is an event for all people, for all time; we are celebrating the completion of humanity's self knowledge that we were born in God's love, to receive God's self communication and to love God through worship and love. The imperfection of our creatureliness has been affirmed as holy, wrought to enable us, in God's grace, to aspire to be divine; to hone our Kingdom skills on the rough earth before we become, all of us, every last one, celebrants in the heavenly kingdom.

For the Disciples, matters were not so clear; for although Jesus had told them over and over again that this was going to happen, they could not take it in; and, naturally, they were frightened. Like us, as we try to recognise patterns in our lives and in the turbulent world, they were seeing what was in front of them in terms of their conventional analytical and ritual powers. These strange, odd, things that Jesus said, did not fit. And so, on Easter morning, bent on completing the burial rites that had been summarily suspended on Friday, they could not read the signs. The tomb was empty, two angels said that The Lord had risen as he had promised; and this message was conveyed by women! They had no means of recognising what all this meant other than by recalling what Jesus said.

We, who have the blessed gift of hindsight, who can see the Resurrection through the fiery prism of the Pentecostal Spirit, living in us now to inform our incarnational perception, can put together all the pieces from the Gospel accounts of what Jesus said of himself.

Knowing what we know, in the openness of faith, how can our response be Laodicean, neither too hot, nor too cold? How can we resist - and that word is perhaps the best way to describe what conventional language calls sin - how can we resist the call to follow our risen Lord?: that Lord who broke the conventions of humanity and then of mortality, that Lord  who rode into Jerusalem but walked out of it towards Emmaus, that Lord who affirmed the Eucharist at Emmaus and then returned to the father, where we will go? How can we dawdle at the road side or hang back to see some gaudy curiosity or to mourn the passing of a fancy?

We are children of the new paradigm, we possess the radical perception of the Spirit to change the world!

- because -

Christ is risen!