Easter Sunday

The Resurrection is described - not as an event that might have been recorded if there had been a cameraman around at the time - but as an experience in the people to whom he appeared.

This was a simultaneously intensely personal and powerfully communal experience. It changed the individuals who felt it and created a confident, other-centred community out of a group of frightened, broken-hearted self-doubters.

The person who manifested to and among the disciples was evidently the same one whom they had previously known and loved. He had then died and been buried. The space of his absence was painful and unfillable. Now he was present to them again. Uniquely, he expanded their idea of plenitude beyond any limit they had known before.

He did not explain himself or describe where he had been or what it was like over the horizon of biological life. He was simply among them, with their fears and doubts, energising them without rhetoric and giving them, without compelling them, a new purpose for living. He did not say what Resurrection meant. If they didn’t know it in their own experience, words couldn’t communicate it. He was only himself – without doctrine but with an immediate intensity and clarity that pulled them irresistibly into a new level of existence.

Seeing a dead person might be scary. It is a universal fear that the resentful dead might haunt us in order to exact revenge on us. Every culture including Hollywood tells such creepy stories.  But this is not a ghost story. They did not see a dead person. A fully alive, unblaming, wholly free person vitalized them.

Here on Bere Island this week we have seen the sun in blue clear skies some of the time and a lot of cloud-cover most of the time.  But even when the sun was hidden its light penetrated the cloud, soaked into the earth and made Spring happen.

Chlorophyll is a biomolecule essential for the photosynthesis that allows plants to absorb energy from light. Resurrection, both like and unlike the cyclical seasons of life, happens within the deep structures of nature where all levels of existence are connected.

The Risen Jesus, who empowers us for a new way of living, is not the chlorophyll. That element is already in us, our capacity for life in a fullness beyond even the wonderful material form of the body.

He is the light we absorb that in time makes us as glorious as he is.