Monday, April 1, 2013
Alleluia He is Risen...but I have not!
Why is it that on Easter Monday Morning that the yard guy comes to mow the lawn???
I must admit I had a very easy Holy Week, the easiest I have ever had as a priest. I did not preach on Easter, all I had to do was be a Eucharistic minister at
both Sunday services. This was our rector's last Easter in the parish as he is retiring in June so it was right that he should take most of the preaching. So this past week except for Maundy Thurs. I have had the joy of just watching. It was a holy week.
A parishioner asked me recently how we can appreciate the great mysteries of the Church and of Christianity IF we understand the Bible as allegory and not necessarily as fact. I have been thinking about that for several weeks and the Resurrection has been sticking in my mind since she asked it.
Resurrection has been celebrated as a fact for so long that it is hard to understand it as an allegory. I am not sure really that I understand it as an allegory. Returning to life after death is a concept of faith. It is the central belief of Christian. The resurrection of Jesus the Christ is THE reason we aren't still Jews/God-fearers.
There is much conversation on line about what people believe and what they don't. Post-modern religion allows those who are thinking about their relationship with Christ to say things that probably would not be taught from the pulpit. Theologians are willing to describe many of the allegorical ways of thinking about the stories of the Bible. But the Resurrection seems to stop me. It is the one mystery of the Bible that says 'don't touch.' No lo tocare. As Jesus says to Mary in the garden.
I have no problem with seeing Resurrection as an allegory for life. I have known resurrection. I have seen it in others. It is that moment when life changes and hope is lived rather than being just an aspiration. I am watching resurrection in this diocese as we recover from the horrendous schism in this diocese. It has been
awe-inspiring to see how people who have never held office before in their churches have stepped up to the plate, shouldered the tasks of running their churches, often without clergy. Many meet in wedding chapels or theaters or borrowed properties. Some set up altars each Sunday and take them down after the service. Some have their vestry meetings in homes or the local library. Going to church requires not only commitment, it takes determination. Even the most conservative parish of the Iker era has a growing contingent of those who wish to remain Episcopalians. We wait on the courts to adjudicate the mess, but faith in Christ and the Church is still alive and well.
So what is it about not touching the Resurrection? 'I know that my Redeemer lives'. Christ is alive--He ministers to me daily. His presence is always with me. There is no problem with that. I have felt Christ's presence on and off since I allowed myself to surrender to his grace when I was in my twenties. Am I afraid that Jesus was not raised from the dead like it says in the Bible? No, I am quite sure that there were those following the Crucifixion who saw the Lord as the Gospels reported.
I especially love the story of those who were on the road to
Emmaus who saw Jesus in the breaking of the bread. God appears to us where and when we need it. Was there a flesh and bone resurrection? I don't know and I don't care. All I know is that God in the form of Christ has made God's self known to me in the breaking of the bread, the relief of a sinner's confession, in the baptism of a child, in the embrace of a friend. Resurrection happens all the time. It even happens on Easter Monday morning when the lawn mower it racing outside my window.
Alleluia, Christ is risen. The Lord is risen, indeed! Alleluia!