The Centre of Faith

So, what is your take on the Resurrection, I’m asked.  What stories do you have about Resurrection in your life? Frankly, it’s not something I’ve thought of. Resurrection has always been a given, a gift, although for sure in talking to others about Christ, I realize how much I to need to know about this immense, given gift, this mystery that is the heart of belief in him.

The Resurrection of Jesus Christ is central to faith, not a personal optional extra. If it weren’t for this massive and mysterious event, following the death of the One who loves with such constancy, I would have to ask where and how could I then live. In I Corinthians 15:19 in The Message I read: “If all we get out of Christ is a little inspiration for a few short years, we’re a pretty sorry lot.” The longer I stay in the church (with no immediate plans to jump ship, sometimes despite), the more I see how central the Resurrection is to what church should be, to anchor us in Christ. If not the Resurrection, then what’s this all about?

Paul writes in Ephesians 1:19 about the “immense power” in the raising of Christ, the women-tomb-3same available to – good grief, me. When I can only see my flabbiness of faith, I have to remember that I have a bit of this immensity, despite fluctuating feelings. And in 1 Peter 1:8, there’s that “inexpressible and glorious joy” in him and to us, however sporadic our joy might seem. Love and mercy are constant powerful gifts. Resurrection gifts. I’ll take them, with thanks.

That courageous woman, returning to the now-empty tomb, found more than she could have hoped for. She turned around, and that moment of recognition (“Rabboni!”) turned her life around completely. So I turn around, in recognition of the risen Christ. The dailies grind on, distractions make for forgetfulness, pettinesses and little joys remind that life here and now is the merest whiff, short beyond short (at least, from this side of 55+).  But there is the recognition, and the reality, of Christ, working in and through me, now into beyond. It’s a mystery, but I will accept that mystery, with thanks.

I know that Christ is risen. No visitations from heavenly beings, no eye-popping visions, no extraordinary tales to relate. Just one foot in front of the other, following, by grace and not by my funny feeble efforts to look up and around and see. Knowing that I can’t love or do or obey his word on my own, but only by the inexplicably wonderful help called grace. Unmerited favour, indeed. Resurrection does that.

By a pretty mundane set of circumstances, I live in an outpost in the kingdom, a small community that focuses on the reality of Christ risen. I met some people years ago who were truly excited about Christ, who brought me into an outpost (not the one I’m in now) to begin a life different from what mine had been. I thought I knew Easter, but these good folks introduced me to Resurrection, to a real Person offering a new life, a new community, and new struggles inside and out to come to grips with what Christ risen asks of me: my life, burdenless.

Writing about resurrection has been one of the struggles. Christ’s Resurrection is a gift; I’ll take it, with thanks. My real life is hidden with Christ, in God. Not my doing, but a grace-generated choice given a long time ago, a choice taken. End of story – and beginning.

Christ is risen indeed.  Alleluia.

Lynne McCarthy is a parishioner at St. Aiden’s, Winnipeg.


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