As we approach Easter, this week’s Lent reflection focuses on the word Resurrect and is by the Archbishop of Wales, John Davies.
Christ’s resurrection was the heart of the witness of the early Church to the 1st Century world. It was the utterly unlikely but utterly plausible explanation for Christianity’s explosion. Its effect has been to resurrect or renew the lives of countless individuals who were then called to resurrect or renew the lives of others.
Scripture is clear: In the Letter to the Romans, St Paul teaches that Christ’s Resurrection must resurrect us to ‘walk in newness of life’ (6:4c), to be ‘dead to sin and alive to God in Christ Jesus’, as his loving and faithful children (6:11). In the Second Letter to the Corinthians, we read that being ‘in Christ’ means being a ‘new creation’, ‘ambassadors for Christ’, with loving, open hearts, (2 Corinthians 5: 17, 20 & 6:13), called to resurrect and to renew. But how?
The extended account of the Last Supper found in the Gospel according to St John, roots the answer in serving others through openness to the Holy Spirit, the Spirit that brings to mind everything that Christ teaches (14:27), guiding people into all the truth (16:13a). When Christ prayed for his disciples and for their unity in him, he also prayed for those who would come to believe in him through them (17:20) - he prayed for our faithful attention to his word and for our openness to the Spirit so that the world might become an image of the Father’s Kingdom. You’ll find the values and ways of that Kingdom in what is known as the Sermon on the Mount - sometimes called ‘Jesus’s Manifesto’ – in Matthew 5-7. They were found to be astonishing at the time but, as St Paul reminds us in Galatians 5:22-24, they are completely consonant with ‘belonging to Christ’, a pattern for serving others and evidence of being open to and led by the Spirit.
These scriptures were the product of people looking back at events, including the dark event of the crucifixion, through the lens of Christ’s Resurrection which reveals that the light of love will always have the final word and that darkness cannot comprehend or extinguish it. Viewing the world, our world, through that lens must cause fundamental change, personal resurrection in our individual lives and, consequentially, resurrection of the life of world,
because every act of love and goodness, every manifestation of peace, every exercise of patience and gentleness and self-control, the bringing of joy to someone else - in short, faithfulness to the teachings of the resurrected Christ and openness to his Spirit - resurrects someone and so, imperceptibly, it helps to resurrect the world into the realm of love, truth and justice for which the prophets called and which Christ revealed.
At a time when new life, new hope and great strength are needed by so many, we must answer the call for such love, truth and justice as can resurrect and renew the lives of others. Be in Christ; be risen; raise up others.