It has been all over the internet. U2’s Window In The Skies made its mark on social media this Easter Sunday. It is brilliant with its, “The rule has been disproved, the stone it has been moved, The grave is now a groove, all debts are removed.” Succinct. Poetic. Theological. Joyous. For all who Facebooked it or Tweeted it. I am with you. It has been all over my blog. Yet, it was something else in the song that I found most profound in its explanation of the Easter story.
My sermons come together very late in the day. Most weeks the clarity actually comes far too late for my own good. I have tried to sit down, all efficient and professional, on a Tuesday, and get that sermon written like a Lab Report but nothing happens. Instead like some arty dude the whole thing rattles and rolls around my head for days, sometimes going nowhere, and then as it all seems like it will never come together in any coherent way it all sorts itself. I have found very regularly recently that I go to bed with no sermon structure and in the first five minutes of the next morning, between becoming conscious and getting out of bed, it is all there in an almost complete way. Like the songwriter I jump out of bed and write it down, in near disbelief.
Anyway, back to Window In the Skies. I decided that I should quote it in my sermon. That was a late call but as I was using Bono’s “Interruptions of Grace” idea I thought it would be appropriate to use his brilliant summation of Resurrection on Easter Sunday. So, having decided that I sent off my sermon script from laptop to iPad and went in to brush my teeth. As I did so that line kept repeating in my head, “Can’t you see what love has done/Can’t you see what love has done/Can’t you see what love has done/ And what it’s doing to me.” And… there it was. Our Easter Day service begins with Communion remembering, as Jesus asked us to, his death. It is after that remembering that we get one of our women to declare the resurrection.
And, in that particular juxtaposition of those two events, those words encapsulated it perfectly. During the sermon itself I walked over to the Communion Table and gestured to, “look what love has done…” but then added that the past tense was not the end of the story. On Friday Jesus had cried, “It is Finished!” However, on Easter Sunday we declare, as I did in a post Communion poem, that the new life starts here. We must not lose the present tense of “what its doing to me.”
Indeed, as I read the Facebook updates first thing on Easter Sunday morning I was rather shocked at the lack of theological joy. Many statuses were still filled with Good Friday’s doctrine of sins dealt with and heaven attained. Many Christians actually seem to live between the Fall and The Cross. The God story is so much more eternal than that and much can be missed if we forget the Creation before The Fall and then the Resurrection and ongoing Kingdom after the Cross.
Paul understood this in Philippians 3 where he declares that he knows what love has done for him in his finding a “righteousness that is from God”. Yet, believing in what God has done for him is only a beginning for Paul. He adds that he wants “to know Christ and the power of his resurrection.” Christ’s resurrection is not just a symbolic act to tell us that death is now dead. It is another grace interruption, a new impetus of power that Paul believes energises us to follow Jesus. It is what love is now doing for our Kingdom living life. The old life is finished at the Cross but the new creation is birthed at the empty tomb. The tomb is a womb for new birth. Like Jesus himself, we’ve got to get beyond the cross. It is not Friday that launches a whole new world. It is Sunday. The new life indeed starts here.
“Can’t you see what love has done and what it’s doing to me.”