Views From the Pews – Sunday, April 24, 2022

Brothers and Sisters,

I have to admit to you that the good news of the resurrection of Jesus Christ, which is the message we proclaim at Easter, is not easy to understand.  It is called a mystery, because it is not something we can figure out for ourselves, God has to reveal the truth about it to us.  It is the great message of hope for the world, for when Paul learnt that some members of the Corinthian Church had doubts about the fact of Christ’s resurrection, he wrote saying, “If Christ has not been raised, your faith is futile and you are still in your sins.”  When we are asked during worship to proclaim the mystery of our faith, we boldly respond, “Christ has died. Christ is risen. Christ will come again.”  Christ gave his life to save us from our sins, but God raised him from the dead, so we gladly sing, “Christ is alive!”

But we go one step further in our understanding of this mystery, when we declare that the risen Christ lives in us.  Christ is not just a memory, He is ‘God with us’ – alive and active in all we do and say.  Our lives today are energized by his life.  We receive the life-giving breath from him, and here we speak of the Holy Spirit.  As we recall this fact, it is good for us to sing with deep conviction, “Breathe in me breath of God.”  The Risen Lord is real to us, because he lives in us.

So far I have said, Christ is alive and Christ lives in us.  Our focus this year is on becoming more and more a praying people, so you can imagine how excited I was when I saw this heading in a book by Rowan Williams, the former Archbishop of Canterbury, “Christ prays within us.”   He was writing on the meaning of Christ’s resurrection now, and among the things he had to say, the following words captured my imagination: “The good news which the resurrection has to tell us about is a quite practical one – about our prayer.”   Much of our thinking about prayer has to change when we come to understand these lessons.  We begin with the idea that Christ has made a place for us, so we enter in the Spirit into the place of the risen Christ, saying, ‘Abba Father.’   We allow the Holy Spirit to put Christ’s words into our mouths.  Literally, we let God have his way with us.

On this Easter we join the company of those who acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord of all.