RESURRECTION NOW – COMMUNITY OF THE RESURRECTION
EASTER DAY! Christ is alive. Let Christians sing! The cross stands empty to the sky. Time to celebrate . Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ. By his great mercy we have been born again to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead (1 Peter 1.3).
Whatever way we look at Jesus’ resurrection it was totally unique, earth-shattering and life changing. God vindicated all that Jesus stood for. He cancelled his apparent failure and his ignominious death but it was more than justice for Jesus; it was hope for his followers. Imagine how they must have felt having deserted him! Jesus lost no time in finding them. See John 20.19-29; 21. 1-19. Jesus showed them that he loved them still and had forgiven them . His one word said it all: “Peace be with you! (John 230.21). It was music to their ears. Forgiven! And it wasn’t just what Jesus said, but also what he did that reassured them that they had been forgiven. They got their jobs back (John 21.15-19)!
What we are celebrating is the promise of life after death, praise God, but also resurrection means to us here and now. Eternal life or resurrection life begins now. ‘I tell you, says Jesus, anyone who hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life’ (John 5.24). This is resurrection NOW. Christian life is a relationship with Christ who is risen. Hence we find Paul praying that he may know Christ ‘in the power of his resurrection’ (correct translation of Phil.3.10). Because it is the risen Lord to whom we are joined we share his resurrection life with us. This is resurrection now.
The great thing is that being joined to the risen Christ we are joined to one another. We are one body in Christ as St Paul tells us ( Rom.12.4-5). In other words, we are the community of the resurrection. Community of the Resurrection. Come to think of it Community of the Resurrection is the title of the Anglican priests at Mirfield in Yorkshire. Priests from Mirfield were members of our staff of the ecumenical theological college in South Africa. We are the community of the resurrection because we are joined to the resurrected Christ!
Belonging to a community affects the way we live. This is true of all communities, Christians included. What it means for us to belong to the community of the resurrection is spelled out throughout the New Testament. St. Paul couldn’t be clearer. He says ‘we are to walk in newness of life’ (Rom.6.4). Newness of life is new life in Christ. The Christian lifestyle of loving God and loving one’s neighbour has wide ramifications in a society devoted to the pursuit of pleasure or shameless greed.
So praise God for what he has done for us by raising Jesus from the dead and making us the community of the resurrection. Because of Christ we are a community of hope inspired by love.