One can get caught up by the literal resurrection, tripping intellectually and spiritually. Questions abound: How can the body return? Is Christian faith for zombies? I am skeptical; does this put me outside the bounds of faith? Some in the Christian tradition emphasize the physical body of Jesus being raised, our Anglican tradition does not.
Episcopalians tend not to focus on the mechanics, but the meaning of resurrection. In our Book of Common Prayer, the Outline of Faith includes the question: “What do we mean by the resurrection of the body?” The answer is: “We mean that God will raise us from death in the fullness of our being, that we may live with Christ in the communion of saints” (p. 862). Death is not merely the cessation of our breath and brainwaves. Death is discovering our child is a drug addict. Death is the loss of a job. Death is learning I have cancer. For us death is not only mortality, although it is that. Death is the cessation of hope, meaning, wholeness.
Resurrection is not only the raising of physical bodies. Resurrection is the experience of God’s love, grace, redemption in the fullness of our selves. It is the joy of recovery. God’s love is fully known in the support of friends who sit with us in grief so that new life oozes into our being. Resurrection is an unexpected new door opening. Resurrection is feeling the presence and power of God now.
We are not together on Easter Day for the eggs and candy. We come together to proclaim the central myth of our lives…death is real; it happens every day to us, but the love of God is more powerful, it conquers despair, brokenness, and injustice.
Thank you for joining us this Easter. St. Stephen’s Episcopal Church is a progressive Christian community which welcomes the challenge of faith. We don't offer easy answers and we don't agree with each other on many things. But we do share a common challenge to care, to grow, in the way of Jesus. Gathering in Jesus' name is difficult for some of us because of the way it has been misused in our culture and by us. However, the challenge of Jesus to love God first and our neighbors draws us together to worship and serve. Easter is weird. You are welcome to join us in our weird pilgrimage of Christian faith today and throughout.
- The Reverend Lisa Hunt