Reflections on Easter Sunday
“But in fact Christ has been raised from the dead, the first fruits of those who have died” (1 Cor 15:20).
Although the resurrection of Jesus is a distinct event and, indeed, reveals that the most determinative reality of the universe is love, it does not erase or cancel out the suffering and death of Jesus in any way. Far from it. The resurrection is the Father’s “yes” to the Son’s gift of himself; it is the Father’s proclamation that a particular person and embodied life is the content of love. I think Herbert McCabe is correct in saying that “the best picture of the resurrection is the cross” (God Matters 106). In this post, I want to emphasize that the resurrection of Jesus does not finally mean that we won’t suffer and die. This is what I mean when I say it does not erase the cross. I think this is important to note because we too easily interpret our hope in Christ as escape from suffering and death. I think exactly the opposite is the case. I want to suggest that the resurrection is not so much about escape from suffering and death, rather it tells us how to go about living and dying. In other words, I want to suggest that the shape of our living (and our dying) must take the form of the cross. In the words of McCabe, “the cross does not show us some temporary weakness of God that is cancelled out by the resurrection. It says something permanent about God: not that God eternally suffers but that the eternal power of God is love; and this as expressed in history must be suffering” (109).
This, however, is not the final word. The resurrection of Jesus is the foundation of our hope for a future of being together in God. It is God’s eternal promise to humanity. The form of Jesus’ life and death is not trivial; it is what love looks like in a broken world. Our participation in the resurrection (and we will all be raised) takes a particular form in the here and now. I want to suggest that it takes the form of the cross, which is nothing less than offering our whole lives to the other, especially the poor and rejected ones of our world, as a prayer with Jesus to the Father.