Posts Tagged ‘He is Risen’
[15APRIL2012] Eastertide | 2nd Sunday of Easter
♦ 1 John 1:1-2:2
“The Lord is risen, indeed, alleluia!”
Easter Sunday: He is Risen! “Blessed are those who believe without seeing me.” (John 20:29)
How wonderful and pleasant it is when brothers live together in harmony! For harmony is as precious as the anointing oil that was poured over Aaron’s head, that ran down his beard and onto the border of his robe. Harmony is as refreshing as the dew from Mount Hermon that falls on the mountains of Zion. And there the Lord has pronounced his blessing, even life everlasting. (Psalm 133:1-3)
“The festival we celebrate is one of victory—the victory of the Son of God, King of the whole universe. On this day and every day that follows the resurrection of Jesus the Christ, the devil is defeated by the Crucified One; our race is filled with joy by the Risen One.” Alleluia! (adapted from a quote of Hesychius of Jerusalem)
While reading from Robert Weber’s book, Ancient-Future Time: Forming Spirituality through the Christian Year, I came across some questions he posed to himself after listening to an Easter Sermon some years ago. He raised the questions:
- Have we evangelicals so thoroughly defended the Easter fact that we have lost the power and significance of the Easter Faith?
- Are we missing the meaning of the resurrection in our own lives?
- Are we no longer conscious of the pattern of death and resurrection in our own lives?
- Do we no longer expect resurrections to occur in our own lives?
I think these are good questions to ask ourselves. Over the years I would say the answers to these questions and others like them land on the negative end of the spectrum… meaning most Christians I have met do not live as resurrection people; at least not in the present tense. I think Western Christianity has subverted the message of the gospel and the resurrection life that it offers to us. We come to the Cross of Christ anxious to receive His message of salvation, accepting it greedily, stuffing it into a safe place and then running off to resume our self-controlled lives here on earth until the day the great spaceship of God returns to cart all of us “believers” away to the land of “milkshakes & honeysmacks.”
The problem with this thinking is that it isn’t true theology… it’s false me-ology. The Easter gift is a risen Christ! A tangible and present reality of a Messiah who has defeated sin, death, and the prison of the grave. The promise of new life is a gift for today as well as a promise realized in fullness and glorification for our eternal future, but our present focus is to live as victorious resurrection people today! Christ is Victorious now! And so are we! We should live as though we believe this.
“And I will cause hostility between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring. He will strike your head and you will strike his heel.” (Gen.3:15)
I love these words from a sermon preached by Melito of Sardis (AD 195) on the Victory of Easter.
But he rose from the dead and mounted up to the heights of heaven. When the Lord had clothed himself with humanity and had suffered for the sake of the sufferer, and had been bound for the sake of the imprisoned, and had been judged for the sake of the condemned, and buried for the sake of the one who was buried, he rose from the dead, and cried with a loud voice: Who is he that contends with me? Let him stand in opposition to me. I set the condemned man free; I gave the dead man life; I raised up one who had been entombed. Who is my opponent? I, he says, am the Christ. I am the one who destroys death and triumphed over the enemy and trampled Hades underfoot and bound the strong one, and carried off man to the heights of heaven. I, he says, am the Christ.
The Tomb is Empty. There are no stones atop me, before me, or shackled and dragging behind me. I am Free. And that’s all I got to say about that… at least for today.
Prayer for the Second Sunday of Easter:
Almighty and everlasting God, who is the Paschal mystery hast established the new covenant of reconciliation: Grant that all who have been reborn into the fellowship of Christ’s Body may show forth in their live what they profess by their faith; through the same Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God for ever and ever. Amen.