Tuesday, 2 April 2013

The necessary violence of Easter

There is something deeply violent about Easter. A necessary and creative violence. How else would you kill death? You can kill death twice: first, you kill death with death, and the second time around, you kill death for good with resurrection, which is like a mighty shot from an enormous cannon releasing unstoppable power and energy, blasting hellish forces and gravestones and any obstacles into dust and nothingness. And we must be clear what death is; it is complete separation from the eternal source of life. Death is life lived in the entrails of darkness. And Easter is the glorious burst-through of Christ's eternal life and eternal love. No wonder it was so difficult for the human mind to comprehend what Jesus was doing in the grave. His disciples could not understand how the powerful leader who raised the dead to life would allow his enemies to kill him. It was a sign of powerlessness. It was, in other words, a sign of death, and death meant only one thing, utter defeat. No wonder Peter abandoned him.

Easter focuses on the resurrection of Christ. But it is profitable to consider what was happening in the hours and days and nights that He lay 'dead' in the sepulchre. I love the way a teacher said that Jesus was not lying passive in the grave. He descended to hell. He went as the warrior of warriors and plundered hell, and wrested back what Adam had given away to satan in the garden of Eden. It was probably not a pretty sight. Imagine Sheol's pitch darkness lit up by the Light wielded by the heavenly warrior; screams as we have never heard even in the most terrifying horror movies would have resounded in those depths and echoed back from its walls. The shrieks of an invaded kingdom. Imagine the kingdom of Sheol trembling, like a thousand earthquakes at the same time, as it realised that here finally was the one who would take back what no mortal man was capable of doing. Now satan could no longer claim that all the kingdoms of the world and their glory belonged to him. For the greatest warrior was taking back his property. This is where the New Covenant begins with the cross manifesting its greatest gifts. Hereafter, are we conquerors because of His finished work.

There is a continuing counter violence in reaction to the violence of the resurrection. An insidious warfare on our minds to steal back what the divine warrior has given us: the peace, love, grace, healing and forgiveness and deliverance gifts of resurrected life. The beauty of Easter is that in addition to the gifts mentioned above, He also gifted us his fiery resurrection power. Easter is much more than white lilies and pink eastereggs and cuddly bunnies. It is such an immeasurably hard-won gift that we ought to do no less than guard it against theft with the assiduous devotion of the soldier. And love as He loved us with His death-defying love.

Originally published at www.easternmirrornagaland.com

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