GRANT, O Lord, that as we are baptized into the death of thy blessed Son our Saviour Jesus Christ, so by continual mortifying our corrupt affections we may be buried with him; and that, through the grave, and gate of death, we may pass to our joyful resurrection; for his merits, who died, and was buried, and rose again for us, thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Greetings brothers and sisters in Christ who in this day rose from the dead. Resurrected! May the peace of the Risen Lord Jesus Christ be always with you.
There’s many things one can say about Easter and the blessed Resurrection of our Lord. But I want to talk about collisions!
David Crowder, in his genius, wrote an entire album about collisions. This album is called “A Collision or (3+4=7)!
David Crowder has a saying on the album leaflet that reads, “When our depravity meets His Divinity it is a BEAUTIFUL COLLISION!”
Is this grand statement so eloquently put not the perfect summation of The Resurrection Day?
It is Heaven colliding with earth! It is the Divine colliding with the human! It is Perfection colliding with entropy! It is the Remedy colliding with pain! It is Wholeness colliding with brokeness! It is the Just colliding with the unjust! It is the Love colliding with hate! It is the Cure colliding with the hurt!
As David Crowder writes, “It is the collision of our fallen state and our Makers’s transcendance. It is a rendering of our mortality and eternal life. It is about the tension that exists in the living of life, here, where the sky meets the broken earth. It is about a tsunami in East Asia. It is a bout a sunrise over Hiroshima. It is about too many who know intensely what pain the world ‘cancer’ holds and the words of my friend whispered in my ear, ‘It’s okay. none of us are getting out of here alive you know.’ It is about victory. It is about the joy that comes when blood tests return and a miracle is announced. It is the hope in a rescue that has come, the hope in a rescue that has found us, and the relentless hope in a great rescure that is still coming–one that has not yet arrived but is no less present…The Kingdom of Heaven is here and now and coming!”
This makes me ponder the previous blogs about Epiphany and Lent that I transposed. There’s a connection to Epiphany, Lent, and Easter that I think is tied to Scripture! The Epiphany blog was about how we too share in baptism by witnessing our Lord being baptized. The Lent blog was about dying to sin, dying to ourselves in order that Christ may live with us. And this Easter blog is about the collision of our depravity with the Divinity of the Risen Lord.
Saint Paul writes in Romans 6:3-11, “Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life.
For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we will certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his. We know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body of sin might be destroyed, and we might no longer be enslaved to sin. For whoever has died is freed from sin. But if we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him. We know that Christ, being raised from the dead, will never die again; death no longer has dominion over him. The death he died, he died to sin, once for all; but the life he lives, he lives to God. So you also must consider yourselves dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus.”
Even the Lord said, “I am the resurrection and the life. He who believes in me will live, even though he dies; and whoever lives and believes in me will never die.”
Death, burial, resurrection! Baptism, Death, Resurrection! Epiphany, Lent, Easter!
There’s connection I do believe!
We were dead, but now we are ALIVE! David Crowder explains that 3 is the number used to represent God. The number typically expresed to represent humanity is 4. He talks about when these combined you get the number 7, perfection! Wholeness! Reconciliation!
In our death in baptism we arise to newness in life for Christ too was raised to newless of life in His Resurrection!
When our depravity meets His Divinity it is a BEAUTIFUL COLLISION!
So we have shared and are sharing with our Savior and Risen Lord Jesus Christ the glorious Resurrection life! We have become partakers of the Divine! We have risen from the dead, from a eternal sleep, to a new life!
Saint Peter writes, “Thus he has given us, through these things, his precious and very great promises, so that through them you may escape from the corruption that is in the world because of lust, and may become participants in the divine nature. For this very reason, you must make every effort to support your faith with goodness, and goodness with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with endurance, and endurance with godliness, and godliness with mutual affection, and mutual affection with love. For if these things are yours and are increasing among you, they keep you from being ineffective and unfruitful in the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ!”
With this newness of life we have become divine.
St. Irenaeus of Lyons stated that God “became what we are in order to make us what he is himself.”
St. Clement of Alexandria says that “he who obeys the Lord and follows the prophecy given through him . . . becomes a god while still moving about in the flesh.”
St. Cyril of Alexandria says that we “are called `temples of God’ and indeed `gods,’ and so we are.”
St. Basil the Great stated that “becoming a god” is the highest goal of all.
St. Gregory of Nazianzus implores us to “become gods for (God’s) sake, since (God) became man for our sake.”
And my favorite Church Father quote is from one of my favorite saints, Saint Athanasius who wrote that, “God became man so that men might become gods.”
Our faith must have goodness, and goodness with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with endurance, and endurance with godliness, and godliness with mutual affection, and mutual affection with love!
But the most important thing about this is that we must take Resurrection to the world. We have been resurrected, are being resurrected, and will be resurrected. As the Kingdom of God resurrection is to come, but is no less present already. St. Augustine said, “Our full adoption as sons will take place in the redemption of our body. We now have the first fruits of the spirit (Rom 8:29), by which we are indeed made sons of God. In other respects, however, since we are not yet finally saved, we are therefore not yet fully made new, not yet sons of God but children of the world.”
But we must bring resurrection to those asleep in their graves! We must bring resurrection to this broken earth! We must bring knowledge of Christ’s resurrection to those who are hurting, grieving, broken, and are in need of the balm of salvation!
There’s plenty of darkness that needs light! There’s plenty of death and hell around that needs the glorious eruption of Resurrection to burst forth and shed light and life on the captives.
We on this day celebrate the Risen Lord’s triumph over the grave, over death, over sin, over brokeness, over hate, and over hell!
If the Risen Lord’s Resurrection conquered all these things, then should not our resurrection that we share with him through our baptism not conquer these things? Does not the Creeds say that Christ descended to the dead? He saved all from death and hell! Should not we be sharing this Good News and doing all we can to reverse the effects of death and hell here and now. The Lord prayed, “Thy Kingdom come, thy will be done ON EARTH AS IT IS IN HEAVEN!” Again, there is a collision!
The answer is yes because on this day the depravity of humanity came into a massive collision with His Divinity and it was and is and will be always a BEAUTIFUL COLLISION!
N.T. Wright observes, “Easter was the pilot project. What God did for Jesus that explosive morning is what He intends to do for the whole creation. We who live in the interval between Jesus’s Resurrection and the final rescue and transformation of the whole world are called to be new-creation people here and now. That is the hidden meaning of the greatest festival Christians have.
This true meaning has remained hidden because the Church has trivialised it and the world has rubbished it. The Church has turned Jesus’s Resurrection into a ‘happy ending’after the dark and messy story of Good Friday, often scaling it down so that ‘resurrection’ becomes a fancy way of saying ‘He went to Heaven’. Easter then means: ‘There really is life after death’. The world shrugs its shoulders. We may or may not believe in life after death, but we reach that conclusion independently of Jesus, of odd stories about risen bodies and empty tombs.”
There is more to Easter then Christ going to Heaven. With His Resurrection He brought the world and humanity into collision with Divinity!
He contineus, “The world wants to hush up the real meaning of Easter. Death is the final weapon of the tyrant or, for that matter, the anarchist, and resurrection indicates that this weapon doesn’t have the last word. When the Church begins to work with Easter energy on the twin tasks of justice and beauty, we may find that it can face down the sneers of sceptics, and speak once more of Jesus in a way that will be heard.”
We must work out our faith and resurrection with justice and beauty sharing it with the world and helping to restore the world to its Creator!
We will never be the same…WE ARE RESURRECTION PEOPLE!
Almighty and everlasting God, who in the Paschal mystery established the new covenant of reconciliation: Grant that all who are reborn into the fellowship of Christ’s Body may show forth in their lives what they profess by faith; through Jesus Christ. Amen.