As Easter approaches many preachers will be preparing their special sermon for Easter Sunday - a high point of the Christian year. But though people love emphasising the wonderful and amazing idea of resurrection and all that resurrected life means they often ignore all that led up to this. Some churches do not have a service between Palm Sunday and Easter Sunday and so you move direct from the triumphal entry to the triumph on the cross with no depths to be plunged in between. It’s a bad habit that Protestants have but perhaps we also criticise Catholics for keeping Jesus pinned to the cross in their iconography.
Part of this is because we don’t like to have to deal with the darkness of Jesus crucifixion, suffering, death and burial. It is brutal, cruel and unpleasant and we struggle to find a place for it in our twenty first century Christian faith. It is the same way that death has now been banished from our lives - death now happens to people in hospital at the end of long full lives and is not something that anyone need come into contact with in their day to day existence. And it is also because we don’t really understand the resurrection and we fail in our attempt to come to terms with a simplistic literal interpretation.
I have helpfully heard resurrection described as a process, rather than as a one-time event. It can be seen to be more like Martin Luther King spoke of the trajectory of history bending towards justice. It is a long term trajectory. God’s planned trajectory for the whole of humanity is long, messy and sometimes even violent. This is a pointer that leads in the direction towards hope. It leads in the direction of life and love. Moving in the direction of love is most important because though there is always more that can be done , love is the restoring force that brings good into bad and has the power to overcome evil. Love may only be present in a partial form but even without showing its full potential love has the power to restore all that has been damaged including especially peoples lives.
Christian Piatt - "Resurrection literally means to make something right again. Though we are bent, bruised and bloodied by life’s darkness, God’s love makes us upright once again. Maybe not today. Maybe not tomorrow. But faith in resurrection means that our entire existence bends toward God’s fullness."
Resurrection is the most creative and positive force in the universe that has the power to make things right and gives us confidence hat whatever the present state of things then they can be better. They can be much better! This is the real hope that has been formed in the dark days of the events of holy week as the depths of human inhumanity have been plunged. Hope does not just pop up out of nowhere on Easter morning!