Cross and Empty Tomb - carvings in wood by Jim Deeds
I love U2’s song of resurrection - Window In The Skies. It’s a perfect play n Easter Sunday 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.
I find most profound in its explanation of the Easter story. A number of years back I decided that I should quote it in my Easter Sunday sermon.
I was using Bono’s “Interruptions of Grace” idea and I thought it would be appropriate to use his brilliant summation of Resurrection. As I scanned the final notes of that sermon a 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.”
Sometimes in Fitzroy 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 it’s DOING to me.”
Sometimes I get frustrated that Easter Sunday worship can inexplicably lack theological joy. Churches can still be filled with Good Friday’s doctrine of sins dealt with and heaven attained.
Many of us 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.”