The resurrection of Jesus is not a magic wand that makes the world perfect.
But the resurrection of Christ is the tectonic shift in the way the cosmos works.
It is the conquest of death and the opening of eternal life through Jesus
a gift offered to every human being who reaches out to him
This is an extract from the sermon by Justin Welby in Canterbury Cathedral this Easter.
This is what it means to have an Easter faith. We live in the light of the Resurrection. We celebrate the death of death and its power over us through the Cross of Jesus.
The Easter stories in the different gospels are like a great shopping mall where different retail outlets invite us in to see what is on offer. And in the doorway of each of them is the same invitation:
Come on and in open up your mind and your heart.
The stories are dominated by an open tomb. It is wide open. It contains a great surprise which challenges the way we have ever thought and believed. A man has been raised from the dead.
It is truly “a tectonic shift in the way the cosmos work”. No cultural philosophy or modern scientific exploration of who things are can embrace it. It stands alone without category or definition. It changes everything or alters nothing – depending on our use of our rationality and imagination.
The women who first come to the tomb are greeted by a messenger. He tells them that Jesus has been raised. He is inviting them to open up the place in their lives where they store all their preconceived ideas about themselves, the world and God.
Their hearts and minds struggle to come to terms with this extraordinary turn of events.
Paul the Apostle puts it like this in his letter to the Romans: embracing what God has done for you, all of us together is the best thing you can do for God. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God and you will be changed from the inside out.
Joyce Rupp, the American author created this prayer for people who are struggling with this invitation
“Lord, I will not find that easy if I start doing that today.
I have not found it easy and I have called myself a Christian for a long time now.
I know that the life of Jesus called people to have a complete change of mind.
His resurrection does that too.
Meeting him in the flesh and also in the risen body must have been like finding yourself at cross-roads, with him inviting us to take a completely new direction in our life.
I feel like a patch of soil that needs to be worked on. I’ve been packed down, trodden over, squashed into unyielding mud –so there’s no give, I’m hardened and inflexible. The rain and breezes of spring cannot refresh me.
But until I yield to the fork and the spade nothing will ever grow successfully in me.
Help me to reach out accept your Easter invitation card.
Help me to wake up to Easter Day each day of my life and especially on your day, the first day of the week. Amen
Sermon preached by Rev John Rackley on Easter Day