Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Rowan On Resurrection

What is your image of Jesus’ resurrection? What, do you imagine, it was like? What did Jesus experience in that event?

According to the Gospels, it was bodily – a body that could be held, touched, could eat; a body that was at once unrecognisable as being Jesus and yet, on closer examination, identifiable as being unquestionably him. Like a transformed caterpillar emerging from the chrysalis, resting while its wings dry out in the sun, did Jesus have to get used to his made-new body? Wouldn’t he?


According to the very existence of the Gospels, and the testimony of the Epistles, the resurrection of Jesus changes everything: not just our perception of the world, but the actual present and future experience of the universe. Jesus, God found in human (that is, created) form, is the first of all creation – light; the world; the plants; the sun and the moon; the living creatures of sea and sky and land; humanity – to experience the deep transformation God intends for all creation.


Rowan Williams captures the metamorphic implication of the resurrection for both the Creator and his creation in these lines from his poem, “Resurrection: Borgo San Sepolcro,” a reflection on the painting by Piero della Francesca:

“...So he pauses, gathering the strength in his flat foot, as the perspective buckles under him, and the dreamers lean dangerously inwards. Contained, exhausted, hungry, death running off his limbs like drops from a shower, gathering himself. We wait, paralysed as if in dreams, for his spring”

What is your image of Jesus’ resurrection? What, do you imagine, it was like? What did Jesus experience in that event? Because one day, God intends, you will experience bodily resurrection for yourself. And even now, ahead of time, perspective – how we perceive, make sense of the world – has begun to buckle under the weight of a deeper, fuller reality...

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