What Easter means for me is summed up in the words of St. Paul 'It is a fact; Christ is risen' ( 1 Cor 15 v 20 ).
We cannot know how it happened, and in a sense we do not need to know how it happened, just the plain fact that it did - and it will take more than a Hollywood sales pitch to cast any doubt about that in my mind! We do know the consequences of it happening, and we could turn to St. Paul once more to draw these consequences out. “Now it is no more me who lives, but Christ who lives in me” ; “ if we share with Christ in death we shall surely share in his resurrection” ; and most personally for St Paul “ who are you Lord ? - I am Jesus “ the question and the answer that turned Paul round in his own life of faith. We know also from the Gospel narratives that Jesus once risen was not immediately recognisable to his friends. Mary of Magdala in the garden ; the weary fishers on the shore ; the two disciples at Emmaus all needed some way in which they could recognise the risen Christ . It might be that in the record there is a message that just says nothing remains the same in our relationship with God and that and growth is inevitable as a result of the encounter with the risen Christ .
This was something that the Archbishop of Canterbury spoke about in his sermon in the Cathedral in Zanzibar during the Primates meeting. Seeing Jesus results in innovative action. Slave traders like John Newton worked for the abolition of slavery as a result of their own encounter with Jesus - conversion. “I once was blind but now I see” are the words in Newton’s hymn Amazing Grace. This can happen as well in the process of having one’s awareness heightened about discrimination especially when such discrimination is a result of just accepting what we think is normal without any intention to take part in a discriminatory act, or in using language that we suddenly come to see has a negative effect on other people.
Not as dramatic perhaps as a visitation on a dessert highway – but a current and living experience of how new insight leads to change in a way that can be dramatic. This is part of our experience of resurrection – not the resurrection of Jesus which can never be repeated or need be replicated in any way – but nonetheless a point of contact with the reality that faith can lead to change and a change for the better at that. We all know that religion can be used to try to legitimise all sorts of wrong ; but that is not the resurrection faith in Christ which brings with it release from evil and the promise of new life .
May we all know in full the rich blessing and changing power of this resurrection faith and may we learn how to share it in such a way that our faith which sometimes feels tired finds new life in Jesus ; that the knowledge of God we have so often set aside may become a renewed focus of faith ; and all creation move to perfection in God who created it .