A sermon given by The Reverend Peter Jin, Assistant Priest
During the preparation of writing this sermon, a good friend of mine told me people have heard A LOT already about the resurrection, and everyone is TIRED. I got his message and I wrote the shortest sermon since I arrived here.
Without the Resurrection of Jesus, Christianity is absurd and its promises are false. I could not agree more with St. Paul. “If Christ has not been raised, our preaching is in vain.”
Every Sunday, we affirm our faith by saying: we believe in the resurrection of the body and life everlasting.
Today is Easter Sunday. It compels us to wrestle with the resurrection. Christians believe that Jesus rose to an entirely new and indestructible life: a life beyond oxygen and nutrients. How do we Christian understand the word resurrection?
Resurrection is not something that only concerns Jesus but, rather, all of us. It is not simply the return to a normal human life by a resuscitated corpse, but it is a leap to a whole new kind of life. Jesus makes it first, and it is also promised to all humanity.
My daughter recently made some amazing theological statements. She said to me: ‘Dad, Uncle Jesus and Grandpa God are the same person.’ Wow, what a profound insight from a 5 year old. If people in 325 at Nicaea, in present-day Turkey, had my daughter’s wisdom, they would not have needed to hold a council to establish the equality of the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit in the Holy Trinity. My daughter at this age has no problem with believing in Jesus’ resurrection.
Children aren’t afraid to ask awkward, challenging, and impossible questions. They’re curious. They’re not embarrassed by their ignorance. They’re willing to risk anything to get to the truth. If they don’t understand something, they just ask, and they keep asking. In contrast, we adults are too afraid to ask hard questions. Brothers and sisters in Christ, how many times do we not have the courage to admit our ignorance, or because we can’t bear to hear truths which might cause us pain. Perhaps we need to remind ourselves of Jesus’ words: “Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kingdom of God as a little child will never enter it.”
Resurrection is not only a possibility, but a real promise. His disciples like many of us can’t and are unwilling to make the leap. They’re bound by their limited understanding and perception of who the Messiah is and what the Messiah must be doing and how the Messiah should have beaten his enemy and set his people free. They lack the imagination to visualise a world which Jesus keeps telling them about. No matter how revolutionary Jesus’s parables and teachings are, they just don’t get it or they simply just don’t want to think in that direction.
Their bias, their world view and their theology have frozen their spiritual senses.
My spiritual hero, great Catholic priest and theologian Joseph Aloisius Ratzinger, has opened his imagination. I quote:
“Jesus’ Resurrection was about breaking out into an entirely new form of life, into a life that is no longer subject to the law of dying and becoming, but lies beyond it—a life that opens up a new dimension of human existence. Therefore the resurrection of Jesus is not an isolated event, that we could set aside as something limited to the past, but it constitutes an “evolutionary leap”… in Jesus’s resurrection a new possibility of human existence is obtained that affects everyone and that opens up a future, a new kind of future, for mankind.”
Brothers and sisters in Christ, how do you … how do I … respond to this possibility of a new kind of existence? What will change in each of us?
Let us pray: Jesus, open our imaginations. To allow us to think outside of the box. To return to the ability for wonder, newness, and strangeness we know as a child. Amen.