I was in the Spirit on the Lord’s Day Rv 1,10
Easter can feel like a poor relation of Christmas. There is something about Christmas that touches everyone. Easter can feel a bit more remote. But without Easter there would be no Christmas. The empty tomb is not like the manger: there we don’t find the beautiful, serene mother with her new born baby, an adoring gentle father, and heaven and earth somehow caught in a silent moment of adoration. An empty tomb is not a presence, it is an absence….That is why Easter is utterly new. That is why it is peace.
We can’t know what Easter is in the way we know almost everything else. We have no categories into which we can put Easter. We can’t master it. We can only receive it. While we are still self-bound, while we are still into the mastery of it by knowing all about it, the stone is still on the tomb. To see the risen one, you need to walk around a cemetery with Easter eyes.
We cannot summon the risen Christ. We don’t have to. We cannot even think that he will come to us. He has already come.
In that coming, there is a peculiar thing called Easter faith. It has a delicate luminosity. There is no awe really, there are no stunning side effects to go along with something like Sinai. It is all a quietness, stillness, simplicity, intimacy. It is un-canny. Ye canna ken it. Peace.
That is why there is a sense of forgiveness in it all. The risen one never mentions having been betrayed by his followers. He sidesteps it with a beautiful delicacy. He never says a word about the cross. In this new order of everything, there is no recrimination. There is no memory of what anyone did to him.
When someone dies, the information usually includes ‘he died peacefully’. What does that sort of ‘peace’ mean?
Then we pray, ‘eternal rest’ grant unto him….but is it really ‘rest’? (Therese of Lisieux – I will spend my heaven, actively, in doing good on earth….without rest!)
I prefer the insight of one of the new prefaces of Easter (the second one): ‘in his rising the life of all has risen’ – I think of a new qualitative state that redefines life itself….
It seems to me that this new qualitative condition is one that elides all dimensions of space and time and indeed all possibility of measurement…This means it must elide the entire material cosmos itself in all its mathematical possibilities…. Paul was not far off the mark when he called it a spiritual ‘body’. Paradoxical as that is….
Of course in such a state, there is no possibility of fear as there is no possibility of threat from any other…. Terror(ism) is impossible…Peace.
In this insight, we are going beyond any military model of death (who ‘wins’ and who ‘loses’?). [Resurrection seems to have come into Jewish thinking at the time of the Maccabees when their troops were killed in a war they lost….God had to reward them and to do that had to raise them to life…}
So I am not happy with language like, he fought against the cancer but it won in the end….or O death, where is thy victory? Even patriotic sacrifice doesn’t seem the right language….. We are not in a mental state where experiences in this world offer good analogies…. We are beyond that sort of language….beyond any language at all…. That is why those who have died don’t say anything. It is not because they are dead and can’t talk. It is because no one, dead or alive, can say what everyone there would already know.
In the tender compassion of our God… the Peace shall dawn upon us
Photo: Resurrection, Piero della Francesca, late 15th century. Aldous Huxley called this the greatest painting in the world.