Resurrection for the living

Easter Day 2011

Marian Free

 In the name of God, who raised Jesus from the dead so that all might live. Amen.

C.S. Lewis has written that when we say that the resurrection happened two thousand years ago, we should say it in the same way that we might say: “I saw a crocus yesterday.”

I realize that that image is not particularly helpful for those of us who live in the sub-tropics. I can’t think of a seasonal equivalent, but perhaps in Queensland in 2011, we might speak of the resurrection in the same way that we might say to another: “My grandchild was born yesterday.” When we announce the birth of a child, we are speaking about an historical event, but at the same time the event to which we refer is not confined to the past, but points to the future. In a temperate climate, the first crocus indicates a change of season. There might be cool days ahead, but a corner has been turned, and without our doing anything about it, the days will get longer and warmer.

In the same way, when we speak of the birth of a child, we do so with a sense of excitement and anticipation. A new chapter has opened in the life of a family, nothing will ever be the same, the child will add new dimensions, new joys and new worries as well as new hopes. Whatever happens in the life of the child, the family is changed forever parents are grandparents, young people become parents and so on – the whole dynamic is different.

This is the point that Lewis is making. The resurrection marks a turning point in history after which life can never be the same. The centre of gravity has shifted, the nature of our relationship with God has been dramatically expanded, the possibilities for the future have opened wide. We can see and understand both God and the world around us in ways that might have been unimaginable before.

The resurrection is not an event that can be contained or limited by history – it transcends time and place to inspire, encourage and enthuse people in every generation. In calendar time it may have occurred two thousand years ago, but it was not a static, unrepeatable event. The resurrection is relived every time a person encounters the risen Christ; it becomes a reality for those who lives are turned around through new insights or through the strength to overcome addiction. The resurrection is known by those who come out the other side of grief knowing that life can be worth living, or by those who make their way from the losses caused by disaster to a new way of living.

When despair turns to hope, grief to joy, disaster to victory, there is Christ and there the power of the resurrection is known.

A resurrection which is merely a miracle that occurred two thousand years ago has no power to inform and transform the present. The resurrection of Jesus changed everything and continues to change everything for those who believe, it gives hope for the present and the future, it assures us of God’s continuing presence with us, it inspires us to renew our lives and to live with courage and determination to be among those who change the world for the better.


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