Easter: connecting the Passion and the Resurrection

To appreciate the meaning of the Resurrection more fully, we would have to look with greater intentionality at our Lord’s death and passion. Specifically we would have to come to appreciate the way in which the earthly dying of the Lord Jesus communicates to us about the Christological work of Jesus as the redeemer.

As I pointed out two weeks ago, this is not exactly a new concept. The Cappadocian Fathers, Saints Basil the Great, Gregory of Nyssa his brother, and Gregory Nazianzus, highlighted this very aspect of our Lord’s work during the height of the controversy at the council of Nicea around the year 325 AD. During that time, they taught concerning the humanity and the divinity of Jesus, “that which he has not taken upon himself, he has not redeemed.”

When we have separated, as most do these days, the passion of the earthly Jesus from his resurrection, we have effectively reduced the good news of the proclamation of Easter into the realm of speculative fairy tale. We reduce the matter to our own subjective belief as though belief in the resurrection of Jesus was a question of debate, like “do you believe or do you not believe in the Easter bunny?”

But when we look at the whole business about the suffering, death, and resurrection of Jesus we have a powerful message about what God does about the human condition.

For those of us who have had the experience of the living Christ in our lives, the proclamation of the resurrection is not speculation, it is a matter of joyously proclaiming that God has done something about the human condition by embracing us in his love and his grace.

When we proclaim “Alleluia! Christ is risen!” we are proclaiming the passion (the suffering) and the compassion (his suffering with and for us in love) of the Lord Jesus. We are proclaiming that God cares about us and the human condition. We are proclaiming that He does something that we cannot do—that is to address the brokenness, the hurt and the scope of tragedy in this world.

Faithfully,

Canon Greg+

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About canongreg

I have been Rector of St. Paul's Episcopal Church in Wellsboro, PA since 1994.
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