I thought that Easter Day would be a good occasion to tell you that I’m no longer comfortable saying that I believe in the resurrection of Jesus from the dead.
Well…! That got your attention, didn’t it?
But before you reach for the phone, to ask Bishop Viv to have me removed from office, perhaps you’ll give me a few moments to explain?
You see, it’s not the “resurrection” part of the statement that I have a problem with – it’s the “believe”.
The word simply isn’t powerful enough.
It doesn’t begin to come close to expressing the majesty of this day. It would be like saying, “I believe in atoms,” or, “I believe in the Atlantic Ocean.” Whether I believe in these things hardly matters, they exist, they simply are, they are self-evident. In the same way, for me to say I believe in Jesus’ resurrection makes it seem as if it’s something to do with me, when it isn’t. It’s the centre of the universe, the reality that changes all reality.
Moreover, (now there’s a word I would never use if I were preaching!) moreover, it suggests that Jesus resurrection only exists IF I believe in it. I believe, so for me it’s real; Freda Bloggs doesn’t believe, so for her, it’s not.
Like Tinkerbell in Peter Pan – she will only come back to life if all the little girls and boys in the audience say together at the same time. “I DO believe in fairies! I DO! I DO!” – (and really believe of course!)
Jesus is risen, whether I believe or not, whether we understand it or not, and (thankfully this year) whether we can gather in church to celebrate it or not! His resurrection is un-dependant, it’s not in my gift, or anyone’s. It is the single transforming reality of all time and all ages, of this universe and any other universes there might be. It reverses the “entropy” – the gradual decay of all matter and energy – and make love the driving force of life and growth and renewal. Love wins. Love ran the race, fought the fight, stood the test and came through – not just unscathed but radiant. The scars in Jesus’ hands and feet now cry “glory”, his agony and trial are things no longer of shame but of wonder and majesty. Death’s mightiest powers have done their worst and love is undefeated.
So. We need a new word! Something along the lines of Supercalafragilistic…..
I tried “I’m banjaxed by”, and “I joyblesstrust” in the resurrection of Jesus, but they didn’t really cut the mustard.
We need a word that says, “I … am blown away, am gob-smacked, am overwhelmed, am transformed, am born anew, am citizen of heavened, am happy-ending storied, am lifted to glory, am thrilled, am enthralled, am rekindled, am dream-fulfilled, am giggly childed, am teenager-in-loved, am golden weddinged, am diamond jubileed, am victorious, am forgiven, am set free, am cherished, am beloved, am redeemed, am turned upside down, am life-given …… (space for you to add your own words here) ..…. by the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead!
So, get inventing please! A new word to express all that. Answers on a postcard .… Closing date? In time for next Easter of course!
But while we’re waiting, we’ll just have to make do with five words:
Christ is risen indeed! Alleluia!
Easter blessings and love to you all,
Rod and Sue x