Sermon for Easter
Fr. David Curry
Christ Church, Windsor, NS
March 27, AD 2005
Christ is Risen. Alleluia, Alleluia! The
Lord is Risen indeed.
The Church’s ancient proclamation captures something of the joy and the
excitement of this day. But, make no mistake, the Resurrection is not some
sort of clap-happy event, a happy ending to an otherwise sad and bitter
tale. No. The joy and the excitement of Easter are born out of the Passion
and Death of Christ. “Now from the grave wake poetry again”, as Dante
puts it, signaling that sense of new birth and the re-orientation of our
souls to God that follows upon the contemplation of death. No Passion. No
Resurrection. The intensity of the Passion gives rise to the joyfulness of
the Resurrection, to the music of human redemption played out in human
The Resurrection is a bodily event. But it gives rise to a new understanding
of everything. There is, we might say, a resurrection of the
understanding. The Resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is, as I
am fond of saying, radical new life. Radical is the right word,
actually. It refers to the root of things, the radix. The
Resurrection goes to the root of all life itself. That root is the
reciprocal love of the Son for the Father in the bond of the Holy Spirit.
The God who creates ex nihilo - out of nothing - recreates out of the
greater nothingness of sin and death. The Cross makes visible that greater
nothingness. The full force of sin and evil are revealed in the crucified
Christ. The greater nothingness is the vanity of our wills as against
everything that is good - against one another in the human community,
against the good order of creation, and, ultimately, against God himself.
But the Cross also makes visible the far greater love of God both for us and
If the message of Good Friday is that God is dead, then the message of
Easter is that death is conquered, death is dead. “Christ being raised
from the dead dieth no more;/death hath no more dominion over him”.
Christ is risen from the dead never to die again. The meaning of death
itself is changed. The tomb is not only empty; it has become the womb of new
life. The unending life of the Resurrection is accomplished in and through
the darkness and the silence of death. But now, Christ is Risen! There is
music and light, poetry and life.
The Cross is the visible sign. The Resurrection is its invisible reality. We
see Christ crucified. We look on him whom we have pierced. We behold him
dead. But his rising to life again - that is something hid from our eyes.
Like creation itself, we know it only by its effects. We see only after the
fact, as it were. We know it by Word - by the understanding of Faith and not
by sense experience.
We proclaim the Resurrection only by way of the Word of witnesses in the
witness of the Scriptures. There is the silent witness of the empty tomb.
There is the salutation of the angels. There is the message of Mary
Magdalene and, above all else, there is the witness of the Risen Christ. His
Resurrection is something which he wants us to know. He is the Word made
flesh now risen from the dead. “A spirit hath not flesh and bones, as ye
see me have”. The bodily reality of Christ is more, not less and
so the Resurrection for us is more and not less.
The Christian doctrine of the Resurrection of the Body affirms, in the
strongest possible way, the reality of our humanity, soul and body. We are
soul and body. The body is not nothing, to be cast off and treated
with contemptuous disdain. It is not everything, to be sure, rather
our bodies are something and they belong to the distinctiveness of
our individuality. They are part and parcel of who we are. We are not
disembodied spirits. We are not soulless bodies. We are souls with
bodies. What we shall be cannot be said with any degree of certainty - death
is, after all, on the other side of individual experience - but it is enough
to say that “we shall be like [Christ]”, indeed, more than enough.
His Resurrection shows us the form of our resurrection. We shall be more
and not less than ourselves. The body is not and cannot be left out
of the equation of redemption. Salvation is accomplished in the body;
“caro est cardo salutis” – “the flesh is the hinge of salvation” (Tertullian).
The greater point is that the God who made us for himself has restored us to
himself. We have our end in God but only through the Death and Resurrection
of Jesus Christ. That ‘end’ is also our life here and now. We live
the Resurrection in the body of Christ, the Church. We are identified with
him in his Death and Resurrection. His Death and Resurrection become the
pattern of our lives - the constant dying to ourselves and the continual
living to God. This is our song.
For in that he died, he died unto sin once:/but in that he liveth, he
liveth unto God.
Jesus the Son of God has given his life for us so that his life might live
in us. That life is the life of the Resurrection. It is about “living
unto God”. It is the life that has taken death into itself and overcome
it. Death has been transformed into a way and not an end. Out of the grave
comes life and music.
By the Resurrection of Jesus Christ, not only are we made adequate to
the life of God, we also participate in the life of God now. The
radical meaning of Christ’s Resurrection is that the life of God lives in
us. We arise to walk in the ways which he has prepared for us to walk in,
the ways of service and sacrifice, the ways of prayer and praise, the ways
of joy and gladness. In a way, it is what our liturgy celebrates, namely,
the music of God in us, God making his music through us, the music of the
resurrection. “Now from the grave wake poetry again”.
Rise heart; thy Lord is risen. Sing his praise
Who takes thee by the hand, that thou likewise
With him mayst rise:
Nowhere, perhaps, is that made clearer for us than in the baptism of
Lindsay Marie Sangster. Her baptism is a strong reminder of our
identity in Christ through his death and resurrection. We are joined to him
and we live from him in his love for the Father. It means rebirth, a
being born anew into life with God. Lindsay’s baptism on Easter Day provides
the occasion for the renewal of our baptismal vows, the renewal of our life
The Resurrection does not extinguish the past confusions of our lives but
redeems the past of sin and sorrow into the way of salvation. The things of
sin and sorrow are an integral part of the music of our redemption. Again,
it is what Jesus shows us in his risen body. The wounds of his crucifixion,
the marks of our sinfulness, are not erased; they are transformed into the
marks of glory, and even into the notes of joy. As Herbert puts it,
The crosse taught all wood to resound his name,
Who bore the same.
His stretched sinews taught all strings, what key
Is best to celebrate this most high day.
The point is that Christ makes musical harmony even out of the discords of
our hearts and lives. In him, poetry and music arise even out of the grave
of human sin and death. The Resurrection would place our lives in the love
of the Son for the Father in the bond of the Holy Spirit; it is the life
which shall not end, provided we live it, provided we let Christ’s music
sing in us. His is all the music on this day.
Christ is Risen. Alleluia, Alleluia! The
Lord is Risen indeed.