I don’t know about you but one of the very annoying elements of Holy Week and Easter is the plethora of TV shows that have so called experts telling us why the Easter Story is a complete pack of baloney. Nice, and Spiritual, but that’s about it. They speak of the Resurrection going against the laws of science, the reality is the disciples went to the wrong tomb, or Jesus really didn’t die, etc. The two points they all seem to miss are, if Jesus didn’t really die and therefore just staggered out of the tomb, or if they went to the wrong tomb why did the church grow so quickly, and why did the followers accept death so readily in defence of the truth of this proclamation, Jesus was raised from the dead? I wouldn’t do it. The second point they miss is that this is why it is called a miracle, if it can be explained by science then it is not miraculous at all.
People say to me, but Fr. Keith its not possible, its beyond the rules of life, of Science of physics, everything we know about the world. Well, yes there are many things we do not know about our world, even in this day of extraordinary scientific discovery. We know so much about our world,and our universe, but there is still much we don’t know about. For example, we don’t know what there was before the “Big Bang.” Yes I am a fan of the TV show Big Bang Theory. One of the classic conundrums for science is the formation of the solar system. The models tell us how the inner planets are formed, but not how Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune are formed. Hal Levison speaking on the BBC series “The Planets” said, “as much as I want them to not be there, they aren’t going anywhere, they’re still there!” Science simply can not tell us everything despite its best efforts. While we know how human life is created we know about stem cells and other extraordinary parts of the life we call humanity, yet we can not account for the differences in personalities of offspring from the same parents. (We’ve had five children and they are all so incredibly different. There is clearly more to life than DNA and Chromosomes.) The real cracker is science can not explain love. They might be able to point to brain activity, bodily changes, but they can’t describe love scientifically. Science has its limitations, its breadth is extraordinary that is true, and I look forward to continued discoveries, but the reality is, that we are actually limited because we are human. We have shortcomings in our knowledge base as a result.
I for one am not dismayed by the shortcomings in our knowledge base. For me it reminds me that we are human, we have limitations, and we need to embrace those limitations. For me it is great to have faith, especially faith in the Resurrection, because the faith I have in God takes me beyond my limitations, as long as I keep God at the centre of all I say and do. As I look back on the events of Holy Week, and especially Good Friday I am reminded that the human condition is, despite all our best efforts, dark, and there is truly evil there. Good Friday is humanities best efforts to rid its self of this pesky thing called God, who calls us to live our lives in a manner that we just don’t really want to live, because we are so much better at living our lives the way we want. The only problem is, that leads to all the human tragedies that we are seeing in the world at the moment. However, for me, Good Friday is a reminder that I do not have to worry. Humanity tried its level best to kill God off, but Easter Day threw all that into confusion.
For me, the great thing about Easter Day is that I do not have to worry any more about what is going on in the world, because God wins. You want to ignore God, put him to the back our lives, fine, he still wins anyway. You want to live your lives run your countries the way you want to, it doesn’t matter, God wins. You want to kill off God, fine, God wins, He comes back, you can’t get rid of Him. Last week’s blog on Peace I made the observation that we have peace the wrong way round. You can’t try and have world peace without having a right personal relationship with God, and living that life out in love and service to others. Then one by one, neighbourhood by neighbourhood, community by community we get peace. The same is for the Resurrection. The Resurrection means I don’t have to worry about sorting out the world’s problems, I don’t have to bring about world peace, I don’t have to stop the wars. The reason I don’t have to do that, is because that is God’s issue, that is God’s thing to take care of, and the Resurrection tells me that the ugliness of the world characterised by Good Friday is defeated by God on the cross and the Resurrection is the vindication and assurance of that. I can have personal peace about the world I live in because of that. I don’t have to have guilt that I haven’t sorted the world out.
Does this mean I do nothing? Of course not. Do I become indifferent to the sufferings of millions of people around the world? By no means! The Resurrection is the assurance of the victory of God, even though it doesn’t look like it. I am called by the Resurrection to put God at the centre of my life. To live my life in love and service to those around me. The person I meet and encounter needs me to live the resurrected transformed life that is offered to the inhabitants of the world. It is what Jesus speaks about in Matthew 25, “when I was hungry, you fed me, when I was naked you clothed me, sick or in prison you visited me.” Note that Jesus does not say when I was hungry you sent money to an aid agency to feed the poor, or to clothe the naked, etc. It is about our personal responsibility to our neighbour to the person we meet in the street, in the shops in the work place, at school, or even in our homes. The Resurrection calls us to participate personally in what God is doing in the world, and he is not just in Syria, or Lebanon, or Africa. He is in St. Johns Ave where I live, he is in the suburb I live in and those around it, Gordon, Killara, Pymble, St. Ives, He is in the city of Sydney, he is in the state of New South Wales, etc.
Like with peace, when I do this day by day, week by week, month by month, year by year God is transforming the world by my allowing the Resurrected Jesus to operate in my life. By putting God at the centre of my life I become aware of where God is at work in my world and I can start collaborating with Him in what He is already doing.
When I put God at the centre of my life I am called to live the life of Resurrection. I can have peace that God has dealt with everything in the world even though it doesn’t look like it, He has won the battle, and that means I can concentrate on what he is calling me to collaborate with Him in His work that He is doing right wherever I am. I can be at true peace with myself and the world I am a part of. It means that I can be an agent for change and transformation even if it costs me my life for the resurrection is the assurance that even though I die death is not the end. It frees me from clinging to this life at all costs and in doing so forgetting to actually live this life to its fullest. It means that I can embrace this life, and that this life matters not only in the here and now, but in the life to come that the Resurrection points to.