Easter Sunday: victory, triumph, hallelujah!
In the end of the sabbath, as it began to dawn toward the first day of the week, came Mary Magdalene and the other Mary to see the sepulchre.
And, behold, there was a great earthquake: for the angel of the Lord descended from heaven, and came and rolled back the stone from the door, and sat upon it.
His countenance was like lightning, and his raiment white as snow:
And for fear of him the keepers did shake, and became as dead men.
And the angel answered and said unto the women, Fear not ye: for I know that ye seek Jesus, which was crucified.
He is not here: for he is risen, as he said. Come, see the place where the Lord lay.
And go quickly, and tell his disciples that he is risen from the dead; and, behold, he goeth before you into Galilee; there shall ye see him: lo, I have told you.
And they departed quickly from the sepulchre with fear and great joy; and did run to bring his disciples word.
And as they went to tell his disciples, behold, Jesus met them, saying, All hail. And they came and held him by the feet, and worshipped him.
Then said Jesus unto them, Be not afraid: go tell my brethren that they go into Galilee, and there shall they see me (Mt 28:1-10).
Could it be true? He is risen? Who moved the stone? Has evil been overcome? Has death lost its sting?
Fairytales and nonsense. Fiction and myth. Delusion and psychological crutch.
We no longer live in a world where carpenters get resurrected – even those from Nazareth. And so the most seismic preternatural event in the history of mankind and the most crucial celebration of the Christian calendar has become just another day for a lie in, for shopping, football and DIY. Every valley is not so much exalted as made deeper and impassable. The path of faith is harder and the mountains of opposition are getting higher. The United Kingdom is now subject to such an oppressive secularism and militant atheism that freedom of religion is a thing of the past. Not, of course, freedom of worship: that remains. But it is a personal pursuit in the private realm. Christians in the UK are now oppressed to the extent that we may no longer worship Him in spirit and in truth in our daily lives: we may no longer be a living sacrifice; we may no longer run the race and we tread carefully even as we walk it, for fear of offending someone inadvertently with ‘hate speech’ or transgressing some fundamental precept of ‘equality’.
God is dead. It is time to grow up, become enlightened, take responsibility and put aside childish fantasies and superstition. And if He be not dead, He is but one in the state’s emerging pantheon, no more than merely equal to the false prophets and idolatrous gods of the non-believer.
Today is the day to remember that Jesus is not merely equal to Moses, Mohammed, Krishna, Buddha or Nanak. Christus Victor: the resurrection split history in two; it divided BC from AD. While the others are still dead and in their tombs, Jesus is alive. Hallelujah!
And still the whole earth resounds with the joy of that event 2000 years ago. He is risen indeed! Hallelujah! Just as God delivered the Israelites from slavery in Egypt and gave them the Promised Land, so He delivered mankind from sin and death that we might have eternal life. The blood of the first Passover which spared Israel’s firstborn foreshadows the second Passover and the Lamb who died that we might be born again.
To have mourned at the cross, despaired at the death, wept at the graveside, and then to have met the Risen Christ must have been an inexpressable joy. Perhaps Handel glimpsed it; maybe Beethoven; but mere words about rejoicing with the angels and archangels seem inadequate. How can His Grace possibly write about it?
His Grace wishes all of his readers and communicants a most joyous and blessed Easter.