Kingsfold Methodist Church
Musings From The Manse
April (Easter) 2019
Jesus did not come back to life. Jesus was raised to some new and larger life. He went forward not back! There are several stories in the Gospels where Jesus brought a dead person back to life - Jarius’ daughter (Mark 5:41); the widow of Nain’s son (Luke 7:15); Lazarus, the brother of Mary and Martha (John 11:44). These people, given back to their loved ones, returned to this life, they still faced the prospect of death in the future. There are several stories in the Gospels where the Risen Jesus appears to his disciples but they do not recognise him – Mary in the garden (John 20:14); breakfast on the beach (John 20:4) the road to Emmaus (Luke 24:16). The Risen Jesus is not quite the same old Jesus as known before. It is only his voice or actions that open the eyes of his disciples to his risen identity.
Neither is the resurrection of Jesus to the next life. He did
not come back to life nor did he rise to an afterlife because the resurrection
of Jesus was to this world! A tomb in this world was found open and empty. The
Risen Jesus was encountered in a garden, in a room, on the road, at the table,
on the beach, in a city, on a mountain. All places of this world! He eats and
cooks and talks and walks and touches and is touched – “a ghost does not have
flesh and bones as you see that I have” (Luke 24:39). He remains the incarnate
God, Immanuel, ‘God with us.’ Indeed, that is the resurrection promise: ‘I am
with you, always’.
Jesus’ ascension lifts him up to some higher place but his resurrection is to this world. The new life that God is offering in Jesus’ life, death and resurrection is for this world. To be found in the places, people and material realities of this world. God’s world. It is for us now.
If the resurrection is not backwards or forwards then when and where is it!? Good question.
It is now.
Eternal life is now. Life which knows forgiveness and healing. Life which knows how to overcome evil and injustice. Life which holds death and life, darkness and light. Life which is held by the ever-presence of God. A life of faith, hope and love. Because eternity does not start (when we die for example) does it? Eternity just always is – neither starting or ending. Which is why every moment is an eternal moment. We live in eternity right now, today! Which is why resurrection or Easter faith must make a positive difference to me, to others, to the world around us. A better me, a better you, a better world. No matter how hard that might be or where that journey may lead – God is still with us and for us and opening eyes to a new, larger way of being and living.
Happy Easter everyone!
Reverend Mark Slaney